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Polynesian Character: Tiurai, stamp by French Polynesia

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The Polynesian Post has issued a stamp commemorating Tiurai. Tiurai, whose real name was Tahiarua Onohi Mihinoa a Tati (1842-1918), was a famous Tahitian traditional healer. He was born in Papara on 1 July 1842 and was baptized on 25 of June 1858 in Panaauia by Bishop Jaussen. He was a tall, broad-shouldered and handsome man with an authoritarian look. Wearing a simple pareo, he lived a solitary life, near Punaauia cemetery. He was not interested in money at all, and never collected any money from the ill people who would flock daily to his place and whom he nursed with herbs. Like many healers of his kind, carrying on their activity among simple populations who were fond of fantasy and without much critical thinking, Tiurai was credited with the most extraordinary healings. He died from the Spanish influenza, on 5 December 1918. He was buried behind the Roman Catholic Cemetery of Punaauia.

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