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The story of the 'Arioi

The influence of the 'Arioi caste in the Society Islands and surrounding archipelagos dates back to time immemorial. They were revered and cherished as superior beings, in direct and close relationship with the ancient Polynesian gods. They alone constituted the center of radiation of traditional knowledge and Polynesian arts but also and above all the greatness of the god 'ORO.
At the same time orators, poets, actors, singers and dancers, they were the Academy of Fine Arts in themselves, they were the perfection, the elegance and the refinement of the time. Exalting the sacred at each of their ceremonies, they stimulate supernatural forces with their presence.

According to FARE VANA'A, the Tahitian language academy,
the term 'ARIOI could also be spelled this way ARI'IOI
ARI'I not only meaning chief, but especially a child descended from the nobility
and not of the people.
Thus the 'ARIOI were composed of children from the nobility.
However, there are exceptions if a child from another social class was spotted,
he could be selected in turn, because he had a specific talent.

The term “OI” means three things:
– First, kneading food, in a word, gorging on everything.
– Second, moving from island to island.
– Finally “OI” is a word in itself, linked to the universe of the canoe which indicates the change of direction.
Thus ARI'IOI is a group of people intimately linked to the canoe and to temporality with the MATARI'I. Without this group, the two periods would not exist in a way, because no celebrations would be made.

These meanings also tell us that the journeys undertaken by the 'ARIOI were from one island to another, and also over a short distance. This leads to a connection of certain islands and therefore of certain clans with others.

Also when these clans were devoted to 'ORO, FARE 'ARIOI were created to shelter the guests, for the occasion. When the 'ARIOI moved on an island, it was important not to run out of food. Because that meant that there is already no abundance in this clan. Abundance being the common thread of the god 'ORO, if it were to run out, the clan had not sufficiently prepared for its arrival. The visit and the rituals performed, the 'ARIOI left a place or a place empty of everything. Because personifying the god 'ORO, this one reputed, was thus honored. Otherwise, or 'ORO was not exalted, the latter would get angry and the clan would no longer be under his protection. the ARI'I could no longer benefit from its support. The 'ARIOI arrived by canoe directly on the MARAE of the clan which receives them. Positioning oneself on the side of the MARAE or behind a leader = ARI'I (behind, following or side of the leader meaning our Pacific neighbors). The 'ARIOI canoe was called ANUANUA, which means rainbow and also reminds us that the rainbow is the path taken by 'ORO to join the earth to the sky. Being the representation of 'ORO on earth, their arrival was grand and spirited. It was not a silent arrival. The PAHU, elements of the earth and the PŪ, elements of the sea,
were to resonate throughout the island. ARI'IOI therefore takes on its full meaning, because gorging oneself, feasting excessively allowed to present the splendor of the clan for 'ORO and therefore abundance.

Queen PŌMARE 4 and her son are the last 'ARIOI before she becomes queen of Tahiti and promulgates the PŌMARE code, under the strong influence of English missionaries, this code will ban 'UPA'UPA, cults, ancient religion and all that appeals to the ancient Polynesian society, and therefore to the practices of the 'ARIOI for the worship of 'ORO.