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How Do You Say Hello in Bora Bora?

Bora Bora, a stunning island located in French Polynesia, is known for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture. One of the ways to immerse yourself in the local culture is by learning how to greet people in Bora Bora. In this article, we will explore the traditional greetings and cultural significance of saying hello in Bora Bora.


In Bora Bora, greetings hold great importance as they reflect the warmth and hospitality of the local community. The people of Bora Bora take pride in their cultural traditions and value respectful interactions. Greetings are not just a formality but a way to establish connections and show appreciation for one another.

Traditional Greetings in Bora Bora

The traditional greeting in Bora Bora is "Ia Orana," which means "Hello" or "Welcome" in the local Tahitian language. This phrase is widely used to greet both locals and visitors alike. When saying "Ia Orana," it is customary to accompany the greeting with a warm smile and a slight nod of the head.

Another common greeting in Bora Bora is "Māuruuru," which means "Thank you" in Tahitian. While it is primarily used to express gratitude, it is also used as a friendly greeting. Responding with "Māuruuru" when someone greets you is a polite way to acknowledge their presence and show appreciation.

Cultural Significance of Greetings

Greetings in Bora Bora go beyond mere words; they reflect the island's cultural values and traditions. By greeting someone with respect and warmth, you are acknowledging their presence and establishing a positive connection. Greetings are seen as a way to foster harmony and create a sense of community.

In Bora Bora, it is common for people to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, known as the "hongi" or "haere mai." This physical gesture signifies friendship and is a way to show affection and closeness. However, it is important to note that the "hongi" is typically reserved for close friends and family members.


Saying hello in Bora Bora is more than just a simple greeting; it is a way to embrace the local culture and connect with the people of the island. By learning and using traditional greetings like "Ia Orana" and "Māuruuru," you can show respect and appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of Bora Bora.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there any other traditional greetings in Bora Bora? A: While "Ia Orana" and "Māuruuru" are the most commonly used greetings, you may also come across other phrases like "Nānā" (goodbye) and "Nānā i teie po" (goodnight).

Q: Can I use English greetings in Bora Bora? A: Yes, English greetings are widely understood and accepted in Bora Bora, especially in tourist areas. However, learning and using traditional greetings can help you connect with the local community on a deeper level.

Q: How should I respond to a greeting in Bora Bora? A: When someone greets you with "Ia Orana," it is polite to respond with the same greeting. If someone says "Māuruuru" to you, you can reply with "Māuruuru" or "Ia Orana" as a way to reciprocate their kindness.

Q: Is it appropriate to hug someone when greeting them in Bora Bora? A: While hugging is not a traditional greeting in Bora Bora, it is becoming more common due to cultural influences from other parts of the world. However, it is always best to gauge the situation and follow the lead of the locals when it comes to physical greetings.

Q: Are there any specific customs or etiquette to keep in mind when greeting elders in Bora Bora? A: In Bora Bora, it is customary to show respect to elders by using formal language and addressing them with honorifics. When greeting an elder, it is polite to use the phrase "Ia Orana" followed by their name or title, such as "Ia Orana, Papa" or "Ia Orana, Grandma."

Remember, embracing the local customs and traditions when greeting people in Bora Bora will not only make your interactions more meaningful but also leave a positive impression on the locals.