In the Pacific Ocean, in the French Polynesia region, sits the little island of Bora Bora. It is renowned for its stunning beaches, glistening waters, and luxuriant tropical flora. A tiny number of indigenous people who have been residing on the island for many generations.


Native People of Bora Bora: Their History and Culture

The indigenous Maohi people of Bora Bora have inhabited the island for countless years. They are thought to have come from other islands in Polynesia, such as Samoa and the Marquesas Islands, when they first migrated to the island. The name of the island, “Pora Pora,” which in Maori means “first born,” raises the possibility that it was among the early Polynesian settlements.

Their Polynesian ancestry has had a significant impact on their culture, which places a great focus on family and communal values. For many Bora Bora locals, traditional habits and practices—like fishing, weaving, and tattooing—remain an integral part of daily life. The island’s seas are alive with a variety of fish and other foods, and fishing is an important aspect of the culture. The fish, shellfish, and other marine life that are abundant on the island’s coral reefs are also a significant component of the food of the Bora Bora locals.

Another traditional craft that is still used today is weaving. The indigenous people of Bora Bora have used natural fibers like coconut husk for a long time to manufacture a range of things, including mats, baskets, and clothes. Even today, ceremonial occasions and special occasions still call for the wearing of traditional attire like the pareu (sarong) and tapa (bark cloth).

The inhabitants of Bora Bora place a high value on tattooing. In the past, people would obtain tattoos, known as tatau in Tahitian, to commemorate significant life events like becoming an adult or getting married. The tattoos were also regarded to have a mystical meaning and to shield their owner from danger.

The people of Bora Bora have been able to preserve many of their ancient traditions despite the invasion of Western culture and tourists. Many of the younger generation are keen to study and maintain their ancestry, and they have a great sense of pride in their culture. (bora bora natives)

A girl holding a flower necklaceSacred and Spiritual Practices

The people of Bora Bora have a strong spiritual bond with their original land and surroundings. They have a strong sense of the influence of their ancestors, and traditional religious rituals, such as ancestor worship and God-offering, play a vital role in their way of life. Religious ceremonies and rituals are still performed in the numerous temples and marae (holy sites) on the island.

The people of Bora Bora have a pantheon of gods and goddesses that they consider to be in charge of the weather, the sea, and the fertility of the land, among other natural phenomena. These gods are thought to reside in the island’s numerous maraes, which are frequently found close to natural features like cliffs and rivers. To secure the gods’ continuous protection and blessings, people offer them food, flowers, and other things.

The religious practices of the Bora Bora locals include ancestor worship as well. It is considered that ancestors have a significant impact on present-day existence and can protect and direct their offspring. Offerings of food and other things are frequently made to the ghosts of deceased ancestors as part of ancestor worship.

The inhabitants of Bora Bora strongly believe in the power of nature. They hold that nature’s spirits, such as those of the sea, the mountains, and the forests, have a significant impact on human existence. To assure these spirits’ blessings and protection, they frequently make offerings to them. (bora bora natives)

The effects of tourism on the Bora Bora locals

With its stunning beaches, pristine waters, and opulent resorts, Bora Bora has long been a well-liked vacation spot. The island’s economy has benefited greatly from tourism, which has also helped the locals of Bora Bora by generating jobs and a source of income. It has, however, also had a variety of detrimental effects on the neighborhood and culture.

One of the key issues is the quick growth of the tourism industry, which has resulted in the extinction of natural habitats and the uprooting of local residents. Additionally, for the sake of tourism, many of the ancient habits and behaviors of the Bora Bora locals have been commercialized and turned into commodities, eroding cultural heritage.

Another problem is that many of the employment generated by tourism are low-paying and temporary, which makes it challenging for residents to maintain a living standard. Additionally, a lot of visitors arrive in Bora Bora hoping to find a “tropical paradise” and have no regard for the traditions and culture of the locals.

Despite these obstacles, the Bora Bora locals have been able to preserve their culture and customs thanks to the creation of cultural institutions and initiatives to support old ways of life. Additionally, they are promoting ecotourism and community-based tourism, both of which place a strong emphasis on preserving the island’s natural and cultural resources.

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Bungalow overwater and MountainIssues and Challenges of Today

Like many other island settlements, Bora Bora deals with a variety of modern problems and difficulties. The effects of climate change on the island’s environment and economy are among the primary issues. The island’s ecosystems and infrastructure have been severely harmed by rising sea levels and an increase in the frequency of natural disasters like hurricanes.

The few economic prospects available to Bora Bora locals is another problem. A large portion of the island’s population depends on tourism for a living, making them susceptible to changes in the sector. Additionally, there is a dearth of investment in other industries that could offer substitute sources of income, such agriculture and fisheries.

The island’s population is also impacted by socio economic problems like a shortage of cheap housing, poor access to healthcare, and high poverty rates. The preservation of the indigenous of Bora Bora’s culture and legacy is further hampered by issues like the disappearance of the Maori language and the deterioration of long-standing traditions. (bora bora natives)


The Polynesian origin of the Bora Bora locals as well as the island’s natural surroundings have created their unique history and culture. The residents of Bora Bora have managed to preserve many of their customs and practices despite the rise in tourists, the difficulties brought on by climate change, and other modern problems.

The people of Bora Bora have a strong sense of community and family values, and they still place a high emphasis on traditional practices like fishing, weaving, and tattooing. The local population and culture have, however, suffered from a number of negative effects of tourism, including the deterioration of cultural heritage and constrained economic prospects.


Despite these difficulties, the Bora Bora locals are attempting to advance environmentally friendly travel and to protect their culture and legacy through cultural programs and centers. They are also tackling the current problems and difficulties that the island’s population face, such as the effects of climate change, the lack of available jobs, and social problems.


In conclusion, despite the numerous difficulties they have encountered, the Bora Bora locals have proven to be a strong and resourceful people. They have made significant contributions to the island’s culture and are an essential component of the island’s history. Book Far and Away Adventure’s latest packages now!

Our Top FAQ's

The native people of Bora Bora are the indigenous Maohi people who have inhabited the island for countless years.

The Bora Bora natives have a strong emphasis on family and communal values. Traditional practices such as fishing, weaving, and tattooing are integral to their culture.

Despite the influence of Western culture and tourism, many younger generations of Bora Bora natives are keen to study and maintain their ancestry, contributing to the preservation of their ancient traditions.

The Bora Bora natives have a strong spiritual bond with their land and ancestors. They engage in religious rituals, ancestor worship, and offerings to gods and nature’s spirits.

Tourism has brought economic benefits to the Bora Bora locals but has also led to the extinction of natural habitats, commercialization of cultural practices, and low-paying temporary jobs.

The Bora Bora locals have established cultural institutions and initiatives to support old ways of life. They promote ecotourism and community-based tourism to preserve natural and cultural resources.

Climate change, limited economic prospects beyond tourism, socio-economic problems, and the preservation of culture and traditions are among the challenges faced by the Bora Bora natives.

Despite the challenges, the Bora Bora locals remain resilient. They continue to emphasize their community and family values, actively work towards environmental protection, and tackle modern problems through cultural programs and initiatives.

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