Pōmare I

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Painting of Pōmare I by John Webber

Pōmare I (c. 1742 – September 3, 1803) (fully in old orthography: Tu-nui-ea-i-te-atua-i-Tarahoi Vairaatoa Taina Pōmare I; also known as Tu or Tinah or Outu), was the unifier and first king of Tahiti and founder of the Pōmare dynasty and the Kingdom of Tahiti between 1788? and 1791.


Outu is the phonetic English rendering of ʻO Tū, Tū being the name, ʻo the nominal predicate meaning that is. Older literature writes his family name as Tunuieaiteatua, which leaves incertainties about the proper pronunciation as Tahitian usually did (and does) not write macrons and glottals. Barring this incertainty, in the current proper orthography would be Tū-nui-ʻēʻa-i-te-atua meaning Great-Tū,-road-to-the-god. Tū (standing straight up) was a major Tahitian god.

Ariʻitaimai claims that this Tū is a contraction of atua (god), but that is unlikely. The name Pōmare was adopted later. Pō-mare means "night cougher", a nickname he took, as was common in that time, in honor of his daughter Teriinavahoroa who died from tuberculosis in 1792.[1][2]


He was born at Pare, ca. 1743, second son of Teu Tunuieaiteatua by his wife, Tetupaia-i-Hauiri. He initially reigned under the regency of his father, 1743, and succeeded on the death of his father as Ariʻi-rahi of Porionuʻu November 23, 1802.

As king, Pōmare succeeded in uniting the different chiefdoms of Tahiti into a single kingdom, composed of the islands of Tahiti itself, Moʻorea, Mehetiʻa, and the Tetiʻaroa group. His service as the first king of unified Tahiti ended when he abdicated in 1791, but he remained the regent of Tahiti from 1791 until 1803.

He married 4 times and had two sons and three daughters.

He was succeeded by Tū Tūnuiʻēʻaiteatua Pōmare II, who reigned 1803-1821.


  • Teuira Henry; Ancient Tahiti / Tahiti aux temps anciens
  • Henry Adams; Memoirs of Arii Taimai / Mémoires d'Arii Taimai

External links[edit]

  • Angela Ballara: Pōmare I, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
Regnal titles
New title King of Tahiti
Succeeded by
Pōmare II