The Europeans saw these rites as an act of exposure, as a display of nudity and as an open invitation for sex. Whether they responded with disapproval or delight, the European visitors were astounded. Was the girl really stark naked? Would she not have kept on the waistband of tapa, her maro? He provides an eyewitness account of the festival staged before the chiefs prior to a battle against another district:
Knowing that topless beaches were the norm in Tahiti, we thought we could find our own private little island motu and leave the bathing suits in the canoe. I thought of us exploring the island naked and enjoying the sun and surf of our own tropical paradise. The irony was even though we were around topless couples all day for more than a week, it was the time we spent together and my wife enjoying the freedom of not wearing her bikini top that made it so memorable. Are you a woman nervous about sunbathing nude?
French Polynesia travel guide I am the only single onboard from the Matira Bay wharf at the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort, where a shirtless Polynesian man strums his ukulele. We're en route to the luxury hotel chain's private "motu", Tahitian for island, where just 31 luxury bungalows are hidden. The French-speaking pair from Quebec look like a couple of athletes, she's 34 and he's 10 years younger.