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Raiatea

The trails of Mount Temehani, the sanctuary of the Tiare Apetahi

The plateaux of Mount Temehani are considered to be an extensive botanical sanctuary in their own right, with an impressive range of protected biodiversity. Access is restricted and the plateaux can be reached only in the company of a licensed professional hiking guide. If you're lucky, you'll encounter the sacred Tiare Apetahi, a mythical but endangered flower. This botanical curiosity, the subject of a local romantic legend, was mentioned for the first time during Cook's first voyage in 1769 and is one of 26 endemic plants found only on the plateaux of Mount Temehani. Once this flower could be found carpeting the Temehani Rahi plateau but today only a few specimens remain in isolated valleys and on the inaccessible cliffs of Temehani Ute Ute. Despite its status as a protected plant, there are a few unscrupulous harvesters who are willing to sell the sacred flower to collectors keen to encase its beauty in glass.

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