Mauatua, Faahotu, Mareva, Puarei, Tetuahitea,|
Teehuteatuaonoa, Teio, Teraura, Tevarua, Tinafanaea, Toofaiti, Vahineatua, Sully ...
These are the names of the twelve women and the little girl who were on board of the Bounty when the ship arrived in January 1790 off the island “Hitiaurevareva” now known as Pitcairn. It is to these women whose names have been forgotten, eclipsed by the history of their mutinous companions, whom this stamp pays homage. Removed from their families and friends, forced companions of sometimes violent men, they nevertheless patiently built
the life of the community of this lost island off the Gambier archipelago, making the choices they considered best for the well-being of their children. On the spot, they recognized edible plants, those which can be braided for
the roofs, those which heal, and those which are beaten to make “tapa”, a precious stuff in their islands. In 1790,the death of two of these “vahine” triggered a series of violent events which only stopped three years later, but, these strong women defended their independence in times of crisis, even by trying to leave the island where their companions had killed each other. Thanks to one of them,
Teehuteatuaonoa, we know more about the circumstances in which the community of Pitcairn was born. She delivered her version of the story, their attempt to settle on Tupua'i (or Tubuai island), and on their precipitous departure from Tahiti until their arrival and their settlement in their new home land
away from the British bloodhounds. Their retreat was finally discovered in 1808 by Mayhew Folger, captain of the Topaz,
who met John Adams, the last surviving mutineer, 19 years after the famous mutiny. Teehuteatuaonoa finally managed to leave the island of Pitcairn in 1817 on board of the whaler Sultan leaving for Chile. She, the Pitcairn rebel without descendants, finally found Tahiti where she is buried ... In
1838, these women ahead of their time are the first in the world to vote, 70 years before the now famous suffragettes.
It is for these Polynesian women forgotten by history that this stamp about the Vahine of the Bounty is dedicated... Josiane Teamotuaitau, PhD in Polynesian Civilization This joint issue with Pitcairn islands illustrates the party
evening where the twelve vahine and little Sully went on the Bounty which was anchored in the bay of Matavai. Pitcairn islands on the same theme "Women of the Bounty" issues
a series of three stamps illustrating the day after partying away from Tahiti, the firing of the Bounty condemning the vahines to stay on the island, and life resuming its course
on this lost rock in the Pacific.