Personne se faisant tatouer

Teaniva Dinard, Mister Tahiti 2022 and Yamila Apiu, board member

Teaniva Dinard

Teaniva Dinard stepped into the spotlight during the Mister Tahiti 2022 election, winning the title of Polynesian beauty ambassador. This role enabled him to learn a lot about himself, and to dive even deeper into the culture he loves. Indeed, this tattoo artist lives his passion for Polynesian culture every day. You'll find Teaniva practicing this ancestral art in his own tattoo studio, Tatau Legacy, in the very heart of Papeete. 

To discuss the Islands of Tahiti, Teaniva Dinard is joined by Yamila Apiu, a member of the Mister Tahiti Committee. Yamila is a project manager and legal consultant, in love with her island, Tahiti, and passionate about culture. She collaborates with Steeve Liu, owner of the Mister Tahiti brand, on various projects.

Every year, Yamila and the entire Mister Tahiti committee seek to highlight the true beauty of French Polynesia, which is much more than just good looks. The true beauty of our islands is defined by a specific mindset, values and an extraordinarily rich culture.

« With Mister Tahiti, I really learned a lot about myself and my roots. We have an amazing culture that we're lucky enough to be able to share and rediscover » Teaniva Dinard

« French Polynesia is first and foremost a people with traditions and an immense cultural heritage » Yamila Apiu

They both share their own Polynesia through their love of the culture, the people and everything that makes the Islands of Tahiti so truly beautiful. Embark on this Polynesian adventure with Teaniva Dinard - Mister Tahiti 2022 and Yamila Apiu!

vue sur la vallée de la Maroto

Visit Tahiti's beautiful valleys

Although the Polynesian lagoons often steal the show from the magnificent valleys of the islands, the latter are definitely worth the trip! This is the opinion shared by Teaniva and Yamila, who both proclaim their love of the mountains and valleys of their home island, Tahiti.

That's why hiking is one of Teaniva's favorite activities: "In Tahiti, I love going to the Maroto, in the Papeno'o valley, because it's a hike that takes you right into the heart of the island. It's a place full of stories and legends." To learn all about this sumptuous valley, our ambassador recommends an expert guide, Mr. Olivier Teuai Lenoir (Iaorana Tahiti Expéditions), who knows all about this hiking trail, its plants, and its myths.

Yamila's favorite valley is Hamuta: "It's between Papeete and Pirae, and you'll find the Tupuhaea marae (historical sacred site). It's a beautiful valley, with a beautiful marae and beautiful stories. The family who owns it is more than willing to show you around and explain the local legends."

Vue aérienne sur le Fenua 'Aihere

Go on an adventure in the wild

French Polynesia is one of the best destinations in the world for recharging your batteries in the middle of nature. Far from the hustle and bustle of the cities, the islands offer timeless spaces where your sense of adventure awakens!

And for that, Yamila is particularly fond of the area called Fenua 'Aihere, on the Tahiti Peninsula. The road ends in Teahupo'o, opening up an unspoiled natural space where there is almost no human influence. "You're completely immersed in nature. It's magnificent, still very lush and preserved. I've rediscovered the joy of just walking along the shore...".

Many other islands offer the chance to immerse in nature. Teaniva, for example, appreciates the wild spirit of the Marquesas Islands: "If you're looking for adventure, there is the Marquesas, where you can go hiking or horse-riding." Mister Tahiti 2022 particularly recommends Anaho Bay, in Nuku Hiva: "You have to earn your way there; you have to hike or go by boat. I think the fact that it's so well preserved makes it even more beautiful. There aren't many sailboats or houses, and the landscape is magnificent."

Touriste se faisant tatouer avec les anciennes pratiques de polynésiennes

Discover the art of Polynesian tattoos

Teaniva Dinard is a talented artist. In 2023, he opened his first tattoo shop, Tatau Legacy, located in front of Papeete City Hall.

If you're interested in the art of Polynesian tattooing, Teaniva's main advice is to pick the right sources: "First of all, don't Google it. Most of the images on the Internet are tattoos and patterns that weren't created by Polynesians, and there's no ancestral approach there."

The tattoo, or tatau in Tahitian, is a traditional art form that holds both meaning and values. Teaniva experiences this on a daily basis: "There are often people who need to mark a stage in their lives with a tattoo. I've had a lot of feedback from customers who are more accepting of their bodies thanks to tattoos. So everyone sees it in their own way, but we really are very much beyond the concept of purely aesthetic tattoos. What's important is the meaning behind it."

Would you like to get tattooed in French Polynesia? If so, Teaniva suggests to :

-          Get in touch directly with the experts and talk to your tattoo artist to find out the correct meaning of the patterns.

-          Book a month in advance to be assured of an appointment, especially in high season.

-          And buy tamanu oil in Polynesia to help with post-tattoo healing.

Personne s'apprêtant à lancer un javelot

Enjoy all aspects of the Polynesian culture

French Polynesia's cultural heritage is vast. During your trip, you can discover the arts and traditional activities of the different archipelagos of French Polynesia.

Everyone experiences culture in their own way. For Yamila, "The great treasure of French Polynesia is its people. Culture is a mindset, and we all experience it every day. It's a mix of tradition and perseverance in a society that tends to evolve constantly." In addition to tattooing, Mister Tahiti 2022 is also a dancer of 'ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance) and explores traditional arts in many ways. "I experience culture almost daily through my work as a tattoo artist. But I also try to get closer to this culture in other ways, like traditional instruments."

For a successful cultural immersion, don't miss the festivities that take place at different times of the year: the Heiva, the Orange Festival, the Hura Tapairu, the Hawaiki nui va'a, tourism fairs and craft fairs... The choice is yours! As Yamila perfectly sums up, "The whole year is a celebration of Polynesian culture."

Corbeilles remplies de plusieurs produits locaux ('uru, po'e, etc...)

Taste the flavours of Fenua in a thousand ways

French Polynesia also offers delicious flavors! A whole new world opens up for your taste buds, with tasty dishes enhanced by exceptional produce: fish, fruit, tubers, honey and vanilla are just some of the delights awaiting you.

To discover them, Yamila recommends Polynesian brunches at hotels, meals at local guesthouses, or organized tours that include a ma'a Tahiti at lunchtime. This type of typically Polynesian lunch allows you to sample all the flavors of the islands.

She also suggests discovering the authenticity of restaurants like La Plage de Maui, in Vairao: "You can find seasonal seafood here. It's right on the beach, and you can go barefoot in the sand. It's simple and very welcoming". On the other hand, Teaniva recommends the O Tumu Mape roulotte (food truck), facing the Vaima spring in Papeari.

Finally, if you can, try the chefs at home "Comme au Resto". "They're a young Polynesian couple who decided to launch their business and work essentially with local produce that they cultivate themselves. They cook and speak Polynesian, and have genuine kindness in their cooking and in the way they serve... it's really refreshing!"