News Story

Fire Destroys Homes on Tahitian Island, but Kindness of Neighbours Prevails

Help comes from congregations in five nearby islands during Easter week

On the night of 5 April a fire broke out on the island of Maupiti in French Polynesia, completely destroying four homes. The families lost everything and were grateful to have escaped with their lives.

In the days after, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on neighbouring islands helped mobilize aid for these families. The effort was led by two women, Wilda Teihotaata from Raromatai and Corinne Tehaamana from Bora Bora. They head up the Church’s organization for women, called the Relief Society, in their local congregations.

When they first heard about the fire, they contacted each other and began to organize assistance from their islands to send to the affected families. They coordinated with the leaders of each congregation and began collecting everything that would be needed by the families.

Corinne Tehaamana explained: “With the full support of our leaders, we were able to mobilize the Relief Society sisters in our congregation to gather all the donations and get them ready to send to Maupiti.”

Wilda Teihotaata, president of Relief Society of the Raromatai stake, said: “In my area, I coordinated the collection in the islands of Raiatea and Huahine. Corrine reached out to the congregations of the three islands of Tahaa, Maupiti and Bora Bora.”

The collection happened the following week. A local ship owner offered to take charge of all the shipping at no cost and went to each of the five islands and picked up the donations. Everything arrived in Maupiti on 16 April and Repeta Teupoohuitua, the Relief Society president of the Maupiti congregation, gathered up all the donations and distributed them to the affected families.


The families, though devastated by the immense loss of their homes, were grateful. A spokesperson said: “Thank you for this outpouring of support. We are moved by so much love and kindness around us.”

Moana Teriipaia, president of the Bora Bora Stake, said: “We are grateful for the support of the Polynesian people in helping these families. The members of our community have been very generous. The affected families now have six months’ supply of food. In addition, so many clothes were donated that we decided to give some to other families in need as well.”

“All of this was done during the Easter holiday when we remember the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and his example of sacrifice and love,” President Teriipaia said. “I can think of no better way to honour Him than by these selfless actions by so many during this week.”

A stake is a group of congregations.

This story was first reported by TNTV in Pape’ete.

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