Maohi Protestant Church

This is the former Evangelical Church of French Polynesia, which changed its name to Maohi Protestant Church by decision of its synod in 2004. The church grew out of the work of the London Missionary Society which came to Tahiti in 1797. The LMS missionaries faced various problems, one of which was to learn the Tahitian language, "reo maohi". The LMS was replaced by the Paris Mission Society in 1863 which, as of 1884, was assisted in its work by a senior council, later called general senior council (1927). The Evangelical Church of French Polynesia got its juridical structure in 1884, which was modified in 1927. The church became autonomous in 1963. More than half of the population of the territory belongs to the Maohi Protestant Church. The official language is Reo Maohi (Tahitian). There is one francophone and one Chinese-speaking congregation. The church is organized according to the synodal-presbyterian system and is independent financially.

Much emphasis is put on the formation of the people of God, at the level of the local congregations, and on an innovating ministry with the young people. Youth is a major concern of the church. Various youth movements are grouped under the Protestant youth committee, e.g. "Temaram" which focuses on street youth, Sunday school, working with the children in the congregations, Young People's Christian Association, doing youth work in the congregations, Protestant education dealing with school children from nursery to high school, Protestant committee of holiday centres, young girls' hostel for female students and young workers, Uruai a Tama, caring for children with difficulties or under tutelage. Through the activities of these organizations the church seeks to promote an evolution in its life, and to contribute to the well-being of the society. The Maohi Protestant Church struggles with the issues of cultural identity and social development. Its role in preserving the language and traditional songs ("Himene Tarava") is widely recognized. Other important concerns of the church are alcoholism, and the impact of nuclear testing performed by France from 1966 to 1996 on the atolls of Moruroa and Fangataufa.

Last updated: 1.1.2006