Imagine a vacation spot for Tahitian royalty that also captured the heart of Marlon Brando. That spot is located 33 miles north of Tahiti called Teti’aroa atoll. It’s a small atoll with 12 small motus. The lagoon in the center of the atoll is 4.3 miles wide and 30 meters deep. However, there is no reef opening which makes access impossible for boats.
It’s hard to imagine that Tahitians need a vacation from Tahiti, an island paradise. However, the Teti’aroa atoll became a place for Tahitian chiefs to entertain themselves. What did that consist of? Song, dance, fishing and feasting. It was also a special place for the ariori to practice their custom of ha’apori’a. Which included eating to gain weight and whitening their skin. Plump and pale was a sign of “well-being and prosperity” for the chiefs.
The red triangle is Sugar Shack. The blue arrow shows you where the Brando Resort is located. Green arrow is the airport.
History of Teti’aroa
William Bligh was the first European to visit the atoll in 1789. He was looking for early mutineers. In 1904, the royal family sold the motu to Johnston Walter Williams. Williams, a Canadian national was the only dentist in Tahiti. Williams managed the islets as a residence and a copra plantation.
Marlon Brando “discovered” Teti’aroa in 1960 while scouting filming locations for Mutiny on the Bounty. Scenes for that movie were shot on Tahiti and Mo’orea. Brando purchased Teti’aroa’s atolls from one of Williams’s direct descendants, Mrs. Duran. The islets were under a 99-year lease by Marlon Brando.
Wanting to live on the atoll, Brando built a small village on Motu Onetahi in 1970. It consisted of an airstrip, 12 simple bungalows, a kitchen hut, dining hall, and bar. Everything was built from local materials. Those included coconut wood, thatch roofs and even large seashells for sinks. The village became a place for friends, family and scientists. Particular those studying the atoll’s ecology and archaeology. Brando signed a new will and trust agreement that left no instructions for island.
Teti’aroa Pacific Beachcomber SC began construction on Onetahi in 2009. The first phase of building included reconstruction and reorientation of the runway. The islet Onetahi now includes a luxury resort, spa, research station, staff village and private runway.
Locals completed work on The Brando Resort in July 2014. Eight of Marlon’s eleven children and the Brando Estate manage the motus.
Another fabulous link of the famous The Brando Resort. You too can stay at the Brando Resort for a mere 3300 euros a night 🙂