Tahitian first names have an exotic and poetic ring to them and are popular far beyond the shores of The Islands of Tahiti.

Traditional Tahitian first names are deeply rooted in Polynesian culture and mythology. Each name has a particular significance and is never chosen lightly. If you decide you would like to give your child a Tahitian first name, here is a guide to their meaning to help you choose.

History of Tahitian first names

In Tahitian tradition, a child is usually given the same first name as one of its elders, a grandparent or great-grandparent. It is a way of strengthening family ties and honoring the lineage. It is said that names are often revealed to the parents in dreams, or murmured by the wind. During a wedding ceremony, one of the family elders has the honor of giving the first name to a couple’s future first baby. This is another way of reinforcing the links between the generations.

Each name has a historical significance or evokes a particular characteristic. Often they are influenced by natural elements or important cultural symbols. Many Tahitian first names are connected with water, the skies, the sun, birds and royalty.

Names for girls and boys

Tahitian first names are both symbolic and poetic. They evoke the murmur of the waves, the twinkling of the stars or the singing of exotic birds. Each name is a unique story with profound links to the natural world. In Tahiti, the first name is never given lightly. It is a matter of great reflection, sometimes involving the whole family.

Boy’s names:

Manava: means ‘welcome’, and signifies the joy that the child’s birth brings.
Maui: inspired by a semi-god of Polynesian mythology. It evokes bravery and strength.
Mana: strength and power, a name that bears a positive energy.
Manarii: symbolizes determination and ambition.
Heimana: evokes the power and grandeur of royalty.
Arii: means ‘king’ and signifies nobility.
Ariimoana: the ‘king of the ocean’ evokes the serene strength of the deep ocean.
Manuiti: ‘small bird’ a symbol of liberty.

Girl’s names:

Maeva: signifies ‘welcome’ and expresses the joy brought by the child’s birth.
Hereiti: ‘little love’ evokes feelings of tenderness.
Herenui: ‘great love’ evokes passion.
Poerava: means ‘shining pearl’ and symbolizes interior beauty and light.

Unisex names:

Moana: means ‘the ocean’ and symbolizes the grandeur and mystery of the vast ocean.
Manutea: ‘white bird’, a symbol of purity and grace.
Heremanu: ‘beloved bird’ expresses the profound love for the child.
Heremana: means ‘powerful love’ and evokes the parents’ unconditional love.


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