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A Look Back At Air Tahiti Nui’s Iconic Tattoo Livery

This week, the world celebrated World Tattoo Day, so it seemed appropriate to look back at Air Tahiti Nui‘s iconic Tahitian tattoo livery.

Tahiti: The Birthplace of Tattoos

Tattoos have long been part of Tahitian culture. Tahiti is the birthplace of tattoos, and the English word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word for these markings: ‘tatau.’ So, it is only right that this gorgeous destination’s national carrier proudly wears its tattoos on its aircraft.

Honoring the art, history, and culture of tattooing, Air Tahiti Nui’s breathtaking livery showcases tattoos from French Polynesia, the land it calls home. Like tattoos, the airline has a significant role in bringing Tahitian culture to people around the globe.

Creating Air Tahiti Nui’s Tattoo Livery

Introduced in 2018, the airline’s livery incorporates markings derived from traditional Tahitian tattoos on the fuselage. This unique livery tells the story of the airline and the culture it represents. The tattoos include the manta ray, whale, albatross, Tiki eye, and fishhooks. Each has a symbolic meaning related to wisdom, protection, freedom, prosperity, and luck.

The tattoo pattern on the livery is the product of TEAGUE design creativity. The renowned Seattle-based design agency helped create the Air Tahiti Nui Dreamliner experience. TEAGUE shares its immersive process of crafting the Air Tahiti Nui livery.

“To kick things off, the design team set out on immersive, on-site excursions that set the tone for the project and provided a wealth of inspiration. Absorbing firsthand the textures of the mountains, patterns found throughout the country, and the shades of the ocean ensured that our design was not only beautiful but well-informed and aligned with Air Tahiti Nui’s vision,” TEAGUE explains.

Surrounded by the tattoos is the tiare mā’ohi flower. It is at home on the tail of each aircraft in Air Tahiti Nui’s fleet, symbolizing the warmth and hospitality of the Tahitian people. The flower is encircled by ripples on the water, with flocks of birds representing friendship and helping others.

A local Tahitian artist, Alexander Lee, created the tiare mā’ohi flower design featured on the livery. The flora and culture patterns are two local tifaifai designs by local artists.

Inside Air Tahiti Nui’s Manureva (787 Dreamliners)

Air Tahiti Nui wanted its manureva (birds of travel in Tahitian) to reflect the beauty of Tahiti and the spirit of its 118 islands. The destination’s unique features inspired the color palette of the cabin interiors. They reflect the ocean’s and lagoons’ intensity, the destination’s brightness, and the lush vegetation.

Thanks to the airline’s Smoother Ride technology, the 787 Dreamliner aircraft’s advanced technology means travelers enjoy a smoother ride and muted turbulence. All aircraft also feature innovative air purification and humidification systems, cabin pressurization management, and lighting systems that help reduce fatigue upon arrival. In addition, Air Tahiti Nui’s aircraft engines are quieter to ensure a comfortable and truly relaxing journey.

The Hidden Meaning In Air Tahiti Nui’s Fleet Names

Beyond the aesthetics, Air Tahiti Nui’s fleet names (F-OTOA, F-OMUA F-ONUI, F-OVAA,) carry hidden meanings, telling stories of the proud Polynesian spirit: The warrior (TOA) going forward (MUA) in the great (NUI) canoe (VAA).

Creating A Sense Of Place

Between the gorgeous livery and cool, soothing interiors, the airline’s Dreamliner branding creates a sense of place, building anticipation for the journey and the holiday ahead. With Air Tahiti Nui, the spirit of Tahiti doesn’t begin when you touch down but before you take off.


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