Monoi in the Ancient Days

Interisland travel: Crossing to Molokai

The Polynesian race is believed to have originated from Asia. The earliest Polynesians found their way to New Zealand and became the Maori people. The Polynesians were master navigators. They built open ocean double hulled sailing canoes that took them on explorations throughout the Pacific Ocean. From New Zealand, the ancestors of the Tahitians found their way to the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, the Marquesas, and eventually to Easter Island (Rapa Nui), to the Hawaiian Islands, and to most of the islands in between. They colonized what became known as the Polynesian Triangle. Today, we find similarities in the languages in all the islands mentioned above. Tahiti is located in the center of the Polynesian Triangle.

No one knows with certainty the reasons why those extraordinary navigators, master canoe builders and long distance sailors chose to migrate and settle permanently more than two thousands years ago. Was it disease or food shortages or even a famine? Was it the unfortunate outcome of tribal wars that forced vanquished warriors into exile? Or was it the desire to find a new homelands or the challenge of ocean exploration? Perhaps all of the above. We can speculate but we will never know for sure. There are no written records, only archeological records and oral traditions.

Here is what we do know. The coconut was a staple of life throughout Polynesia. The coconut floated throughout the Pacific and propagated on most all of the Pacific islands. Coconut oil was prepared and commonly used as a skin conditioner and hair composition throughout Polynesia. We know that the Tahitian Gardenia or tiare flower was a fantastically fragrant flower that was indigenous to French Polynesia. And the flower was a favorite of all due to its powerful and enchanting fragrance.

We do know that the first Europeans navigators to Tahiti, like discoverer Captain Samual Wallis or Captain James Cook, who explored many of the Polynesian Islands, both documented the use coconut oil by the natives. These documents also reveal that, according to observations and oral traditions, coconut oil played an important role in the traditions and culture of all Polynesians. Coconut oil was so intergraded into their daily lives that it was carried in their voyaging canoes to protect their bodies from the elements during long journeys of discovery at sea.

The Discovery of Hawaii

No one knows who first thought of combining the tiare flowers and its fragrance with coconut oil to obtain a mixture just as exotic as its Polynesian name. We do know that families have made a home brewed Monoi in their homes for generations. MONOI, in Tahitian, means “scented oil”. Mixed with tiare petals and soaked into coconut oil for several days or even weeks, Monoi was used by the natives for daily cosmetic use, for personal care, for popular cures and even for religious rites.

Even in traditional medicine, Monoi was a popular remedy to soothe a variety of ailments such damaged hair, dry skin, pregnancy stretch marks, and even mosquito bites. The Polynesians used Monoi in the well refined art of therapeutic massages in which they achieved great healing powers. Nowadays, the undeniable benefits of MONOI are still much appreciated by the Polynesians who enjoy using it to help relax their muscles and soothe minds.

Monoi has followed the Polynesian people throughout the Polynesian Triangle and up to the present day where it remains an integral part of their rich culture and daily lives.

Discover Monoi Tiare Tahiti.