By Gabby Storey
Teha‘apapa was queen regnant of Huahine, located in what is now French Polynesia. She was born in 1735 to Teriʻi-taria Te-haʻapapa and Teri’i-ohua-e-te-anuanua-i-te-tuahu.
She had two husbands, Rohianuʻu and Mato Teriʻi-te Po Areʻi of Raiatea. She is known to have had two children, Tura’iari’i Ehevahine, who became queen consort of Raiatea.
Teha‘apapa’s other child was her successor, Teri’itaria I, son of Mato. Teri’itaria was king for only three years before being deposed by his half brother in 1793.
Teha‘apapa became queen of Huahine after the death of her father in 1760, and she ruled until her death in 1790 at the age of 54-55.
We unfortunately know little of her reign, apart from that she ruled when James Cook visited the island as part of his first voyage from 1768-1771.
Like her successors Teha‘apapa II and Teha‘apapa III, Teha‘apapa I demonstrates the normativity and ease with which the Polynesians accepted female succession to rule, as opposed to some of their global counterparts.
There is little extant work on Teha‘apapa I, with one of the most recent texts being from the 1930s: Samuel Russell, Tahiti and French Oceania: A Book of Reliable Information for the Traveller, the Sportsman, the Yachtsman, and the Resident in the South Seas (Sydney: Pacific Publications, 1935).