November 3, 2005

Tiki Research Adventure: TAI Tahiti

Filed under: History,Research,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:28 pm
TAI Tahiti mug, from the collection of Virani
TAI Tahiti mug, from the collection of Virani

Every so often, I have a reason to do a bit of research (okay, so it’s mostly just Googling), and the results can be very satisfying. Today the inspiration came in the form of the small mug to the left. I had actually seen it the day before, when one was put up for trade by an Ooga-Mooga member. It was an interesting little mug, but I didn’t recognize it. Of course, it was a nice surprise to see today that Virani, completely independently, posted this mug up on an existing thread on Tiki Central, looking for more information. It can also be found on page 54 of Tiki Quest, where it had escaped my notice. Virani’s mug says “Jean-Pierre le Tahiti” on the bottom, while the mug up for trade on Ooga-Mooga by Kohalacharms has the letters “TAI” printed clear enough to read on the side. There’s a faint trace of the “TAI” on Virani’s mug, and he’d naturally not been able to tell what it said. Armed with this info, I went on a search for what this TAI from Tahiti was. My search turned up a lot of websites in Japanese and French, but not a lot in English. I found a beautiful old promotional poster from TAI Tahiti airlines, and an ashtray for sale on eBay in France. I was able to surmise that the mug was likely a promotional item from TAI Tahiti the airline. Armed with this new info, Virani was able to learn that TAI Tahiti began service in 1948, continuing at TAI until 1963, when they became UTA — they later joined Air France in 1990. TAI Tahiti made its first one-stop trip from France all the way to Tahiti in June, 1963.

One Response to “Tiki Research Adventure: TAI Tahiti”

  1. paul chatenay Says:

    I have one of these cups…and an ashtray…TAI
    I flew with TAI when I was a kid…..and wanted to see if anything that reminded me ever turns up on internet…and over time found these two great items!
    Also got some luggage stickers on eBay

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Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

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