The Marquesas Art & Culture Festival
Prior to 1986, many people in the remote Marquesas Islands were worried that ancient traditions and cultures would be lost if a concentrated effort was not made to preserve them. From this concern, the cultural organization known as “Motu Haka o Te Fenua Enata” was established as they organized the first Art and Culture festival on the Marquesas Island of Ua Pou.
This festival encourages its youth to approach the Tuhuka (wise-men) of the islands to be trained in the ancient traditions and culture of the islands.
The “Matavaa O Te Fenua Enana ” or the Marquesas Art & Culture Festival was established and now re-occurs every 4 years on one of the three most populated Marquesas Islands. The festival rotates between the islands of Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva, and Hiva Oa. Another mini-festival also takes place every four years, alternating so that there is a festival every 2 years. The mini-festival takes place on the smaller islands of Tahuata, Fatu Hiva, and Ua Huka.
The last mini-festival was held in December 2017 on the island of Tahuata to continue the tradition of demonstrating traditional sports, language, dances (including the well-known Haka), sculpture, songs, and tattooing. The Big Festival was held on the island of Ua Pou from December 16 to 19, 2019. Far and Away Adventures can plan a trip for you to take in some of the festivities. The next mini-festival will be held in the latter half of December 2021 on the island of Fatu Hiva.
The most recent major festivals have brought together over 1800 participants from islands outside of the Marquesas. Youth, their families, and instructors come from other Polynesian islands which stretches out to Hawaii, New Zealand, and Easter Island. Those attending this rare event will be immersed in an opportunity to dive into the heart of the traditions of Polynesia.
The mini-festivals by comparison, only take in participants from the Marquesas Islands and do not include Polynesians from further destinations.
Festivals & Islands
2015 – Hiva Oa (Major Festival)
2017 – Tahuata (Mini Festival)
2019 – Ua Pou (Major Festival) – Dec 16 – 19, 2019
2021 – Fatu Hiva (Mini Festival)
2023 – Nuku Hiva (Major Festival) – Dec 16 – 20, 2023
2025 – Ua Huka (Mini Festival)
Contact Far & Away Adventures to book your trip to the Marquesas Arts and Culture Festival.
Mini Marquesas Islands Festival
The Reawakening of the Marquesan people
Mata’vaa Iti, the Mini Festival of the Marquesas Islands, is held every 4 years, alternating with Mata’vaa, the main arts festival of the Marquesas Islands. The first edition of the Mini Festival was held in 2006 on Tahuata. Dances, traditional games, exhibitions, contests, etc. 600 members of various delegations, along with the public, attend each festival. While the Big Festival has gradually opened up to the other Polynesian archipelagoes, with groups coming from Hawaii, the Samoas, New Zealand, Tahiti, Easter Island, and elsewhere, the Mini Festival features only groups from the Marquesas Islands, with the goal to maintain the Marquesan culture alive around a common theme which, in 2017, was:
“Let us make what we planted bear fruit“.
Interested in the event?
Contact Far and Away Adventures to plan a trip that includes the Marquesas Islands Festivals. We can build cruise packages or packages with flights to get to the festival and accommodations in the Marquesas.