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Today was an extraordinary birthday for Tahiti’s Mama Tini, as she is known locally – she turned 100.

Emma Temaiana-Tehaamatai celebrated her century surrounded by her children and grandchildren, reports Tahiti-Infos.

Mama Tini was born on 1 February 1921 – today with the Tahitian time difference – in Haapu, Huahine.

She blew out her 100 candles.

“She’s lying down and under medical supervision, but without pain,” said Hani Tehaamatai, one of her sons.

“She has lost part of her autonomy and some of her senses.

“She sees much less, she is deaf. But it’s normal – ‘age doing its work’, he added.

Bagging sugar cane
Mama Tini worked in Atimaono for many years, cutting and bagging sugar cane.

It was during this time that she met Teriitahi Tehaamatai, whom she married and had six children.

In 1955, the couple left for Nouméa, New Caledonia, to work in the nickel industry.

Less than ten years later, the family returned to their fenua.

“A great change of life, because in Nouméa we had everything – house, electricity, washing machine, and especially employment.

“So we came back and here and we have no electricity … and socially we have taken a tumble, ” said Tehaamatai.

However, he said he remembered that his mother had “raised us properly”.

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