Denis’s life calling was revealed to him when he led a group of Bora Bora junior high school students on a field trip, on which they viewed a pristine coral colony. Returning just days later, he found that the coral had been destroyed by the anchors of small boats. And he decided to do something about it.
For nine years, Mark Eddowes has captivated guests of the m/s Paul Gauguin with fascinating tales of French Polynesia’s storied past, sharing his wealth of knowledge through lectures that that range from “The Cult of the Tiki” and “The Ancient Culture of the Marquesas Islands” to the real story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. These lectures are often cited as a highlight by our guests.
Much of his knowledge was gained in the field, literally uncovering the past on archaeological digs. Originally from New Zealand, Mark first visited Tahiti in 1988 as a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Auckland. He had been invited to join a dig on the island’s north shore, and once that four-year project ended, he stayed on, directing the excavations of ancient sites throughout the Society, Austral, and Marquesas Islands and making significant contributions to the knowledge of southern Polynesia’s early settlements.
Today, Mark is an acknowledged authority and researcher in the field of Polynesian anthropology, having been honored in 2006 with the title of National Geographic expert in the archeology of French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. He has also been invited to head an archaeological research committee charged with classifying the historical temple site of Taputapuatea on Raiatea island as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And he is currently working with UNESCO to class the marae (temples) of the Cook Islands— including those of Aitutaki, where he is currently directing a research project—as similar heritage sites.
When he’s not traveling the South Seas conducting his research, Mark makes his home in Huahine, the “Garden Island” of the Society Islands chain. Fluent in French and Tahitian, as well as his native English, Mark joins us on most voyages of The Gauguin, so it’s likely that you, too, will have the opportunity to attend an entertaining and enlightening lecture given by this renowned archaeologist and scholar—and gifted raconteur.