This project builds on an initial collaboration between two historians of eighteenth-century Pacific Islander voyaging. Larcade and Fullagar first met in 2018 in Cambridge, UK, when presenting new findings on remarkably similar Maohi (Tahitian Islander) voyagers of the late 1700s: Lacarde on Ahutoru, who was the first Tahitian Islander to visit Paris in 1769, and Fullagar on Mai, who was the first to visit southern Australia (after visiting Britain) in 1776. We discovered that we shared a comparable approach to the histories of our respective Maohi subjects, with the goal of restoring the Indigenous perspective to figures who have long been subsumed in imperial narratives.

Project aim

Our project will extend this approach to the Maohi voyagers who followed in Ahutoru and Mai’s wake during the following century. Eventually, it will collate and analyse for the first time a record of all these migrations, illuminating a neglected early link between France and Australia—one made not by white explorers but by Indigenous mariners. Understanding this historic link through the perspective of Maohi voyagers provides a new way to assess imperial-Indigenous connections as well as pathways to better relations between our two nations and the Pacific region.


Academy of Social Sciences (ASSA) & Embassy of France in Australia, $4,993



Research investigators

Professor Kate Fullagar

Research Status


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