On Saturday ten Tahitian men will battle it out for the title of Mister Tahiti 2018. The annual competition is more than just a beauty pageant: contestants must take part in six stages, including the talent show and a nerve-wracking swimsuit passage.
“We are not only looking for physique, we are also looking for candidates with a sense of meaning, those who have things to share, we want ambassadors of positive values, particularly those oriented towards ecology,” explained event organiser Alexandre Taliercio of the high standards Mister Tahiti must meet.
The contest is a large drawcard for tourists, who come to Tahiti for the picturesque natural scenery and the unique French Polynesian culture. This is the event’s 17th year running, and takes place at Le Meridien Tahiti. Contestants include a dance teacher and a sports coach, and each of the ten chosen for the finals will represent a different area of beautiful Islands of Tahiti.
Despite knowing very little about the contestants, we’ve put together a detailed and engaging whos-who – so you don’t even have to watch the contest.
Orootaha Pua – Sports Coach – Pamatai – 22 – 175cm
Orootaha has the smirk and smooth haircut of a frat boy confident he’ll win, even if his Dad has to buy the award. This sports coach is contestant number one, and we don’t think that single-finger hoist looks like a finger gun by accident. Kapow! Orootaha looks great in a Hawai’ian shirt, but sadly he’s signed up for Mister Tahiti. Judging by his OUTLAW tattoo, we’re not sure he knows what he’s doing. Can an outlaw ever represent the peaceful islands of Tahiti?
Eremoana Manuel – Server – Haapiti – 20 – 181cm
Eremoana lives up to his name by looking like a sea god lounging in the shallows, waiting for trouble. He hails from the coastal region of Ha’apiti, and his brother calls him a “very smart guy with a super cool attitude.” High praise from a tough crowd. He’s a server, and baby, he is serving looks tonight. It looks like Eremoana bleaches his belly button, so we know he takes great pride in his appearance – or he’s a button-free clone trying to create a fake sign of human birth. Is Tahiti ready for an unborn Beauty King?
Tamahei Pahoeani – Postman – Pirae – 27 – 180cm
Tamahei’s tattoo reads “Never Give Up,” and that’s his motto both as a postman in Pirae, and as a musician on Facebook. That’s right, Mr Velvet Tonsils is going to bring it to the talent show. With good boy good looks, Tamahei has a real shot at the crown. He comes across as a little understated and gentle, but we think this guy’s got the Machiavellian chops to take down the competition.
Tepoea Heitaa – Student – Hiva Oa – 19 – 180cm
Tepoea is straight chillin’. He’s a student from Hiva Oa, and has a shy smile that hints at inner passions. A button earring shows he’s not afraid to accessorise, and we’re looking forward to seeing “Red Bordeaux” on the stage – in a Facebook post, Tepoea describes it as “a colour moving”. Is it a gown? A second earring? Mr Mystery keeps us guessing. Tepoea’s commitment to the role of Candidate Number Four is clearly visible in his missing thumb, and we look forward to a legal name change if he becomes Mister Tahiti.
Tereva Temanupaioura – N/A – Tiarei – 23 – 183cm
All we know about Tereva is that he has a dance coach, loves the outdoors, and a Facebook reviewer said he had a “big heart,” which we hope is on his Tinder profile. His occupation is listed as N/A, which we assume – from his soft eyes and unbridled joy for life – is because he’s dedicated every moment of his life to philanthropy. In this picture, the endless ball of friendship is high-fiving the camera. His talent will probably be break dancing.
Heiki Haoatai – Tourist Guide – Tetiaroa – 23 – 185cm
Heiki Haoatai looks like your shy neighbour who didn’t actually sign up for the competition but accidentally made his way to the final by virtue of his sculpted body. The man is an Adonis, a Hercules. He should be entering Mr Greece. Haoatai also has the benefit of being contestant number 6, which means that he gets to pair a friendly thumbs up with a calming open palm. It’s a good thing he hasn’t entered Mr Greece, though – an open palm is a highly offensive gesture in Greece, dating back to the days where members of the public were allowed to smear charcoal on the faces of criminals, and a thumbs up means a swift ‘up yours’.
Teehau Maitui – Fisherman – Faaone – 24 – 184cm
On his campaign Facebook page, Teehau Maitui promises ‘big kisses to all’ who support him, but it also resembles the Tinder profile of any guy who has caught a big fish once and uses it on online dating profiles in perpetuity. Maitui’s Facebook page features a range of brightly coloured fish (deceased) along with his best buddies (alive) and various inspirational sayings like ‘my passion, my life’ and ‘the ocean, my element’. The Fisherman from Faaone isn’t quite as cut as his fellow competitors, but he looks like a kind soul.
Mahaotini Arai – Student – Titioro – 19 – NA
Mahaotini Arai likes bright shorts and he likes to wear them low – very low. Despite an intriguing official height of ‘NA’, he does appear to exist on the y axis. Not to be outdone by fellow dancing competitor Puatai Hikutini, Arai is also a dancer and dreams of one day being a hotel chef. He says his main quality is that of a challenger (“give me a challenge and I’ll beat it,” he claims), and when he’s not posing with his top off he sports a sick Hawaiian shirt – a floral purple number which provides just the right amount of clash with his bright pink shorts. Maybe someone challenged him to overcome centuries of sartorial convention?
Tehoatua Van Bastolaer – Clerk – Punaauia – 23 – 190cm
Tehoatua Van Bastolaer is an international man of mystery. A Dutch name in French Polynesia, with a job as a ‘clerk’. A law clerk? A retail clerk? A patent clerk, a la famous European Albert Einsten? An actor with a starring role in the 1994 film Clerks? Unlikely, as he probably wouldn’t have been born. There is one Tehoatua Van Bastolaer on Facebook, there’s not much to see. His profile picture is a can of Monster energy drink, four of his six tagged photos are of Monster energy drink, and of his six friends, one has both a profile picture and a cover photo of Monster energy drink. So what can we tell from his official Mr Tahiti photo? His tattoos are a mix of traditional Tahitian, with an Asian character lumped underneath. Mysterious.
Puatai Hikutini – Dance Teacher – Hitiaa – 25 -183cm
This dance teacher sure has a cheery smile, and with his crisp white shorts he looks like a member of short-lived mid-2000s New Zealand pop group Boyband – or, failing that, a member of slightly-longer-lived mid-2010s New Zealand pop group Titanium. He doesn’t seem to do things by halves, promising his followers that he’ll give “200 percent” in his pursuit to become Mr Tahiti 2018, and thanking them for giving him strength. The presumed gym bunny has used his raised profile to promote his local gym, his local shoe shop, and a movie he was in about French painter Paul Gauguin. Noble causes indeed.
Anyone visiting Tahiti this weekend can buy tickets here.
For anyone not in Tahiti, all the contestants are on Facebook and will share videos of the event.