Scent of Gardenia/Tiare




 "Noa noa in Tahitian dialect means fragrant, and that is what the book undoubtedly is. It is as fragrant as the tiare, the gardenia of the South Seas. It is redolent of the primitive freshness of the island; luminous with colorful forests and long sea beaches under the sun. The liquid syllables of the Tahitian vahinas stream on its leisurely moving tide. Seeking the essence of color and line, Gauguin instinctively selected the last remaining corner of the world where it could be found."...
This was a friendly call. The natives taught Gauguin their secrets of living, and he came to the conclusion that he, after all, was the true "savage."
In ''Noa Noa" he presents this point of view with all his power as one of the truly great modern artists. These pages are at times realistic, at times saturated with a deeply religious mysticism. Here Paul Gauguin parts company with Mr. Maugham's boorish and brutal genius, especially in passages like this one, when the Frenchman wrote:
"Above all, they have taught me to know myself better; they have told me the deepest truth.
"Was this thy secret, thou mysterious world? O mysterious world of all light, thou hast made a light shine within me, and I have grown in admiration of thy antique beauty, which is the immemorial youth of nature. I have become better for having understood and having loved thy human soul—
a flower which has ceased to bloom and whose fragrance no one henceforth will breathe."
Current opinion, Volume 68
 edited by Edward Jewitt Wheeler, Frank Crane

I shall not forget the first time that Tahiti lifted before my hopeful yet doubting eyes! On the fourteenth day out from San Francisco I awoke with a feeling of buoyancy and expectancy that grew with the morning. I hoped to find soon in reality the ideal my fancy had created. In the afternoon,
while leaning over the cathead watching the flying-fish leaping in advance of the bow, there came to me a new and delicious odor. It seemed to steal from a secret garden under the sea. Sweeter and heavier it floated upon the light breeze—the fragrance of the hinano, the tiare, and the frangipani, Tahiti's famous flowers.
I strained my eyes to see land through the bright sunshine of the afternoon. Shortly after three o'clock vision became reality, marvelous, exquisite, a dim shadow in the offing, a dark speck in the lofty clouds, a mass of towering green upon blue water, the fast unfoldment of emerald, pale hills, and glittering reef. Nearer, the panorama was lovelier. The island rose in changing shape, here sheer and challenging, there sloping gently from mountain height to ocean sheen; different all about, altering with hiding sun and shifting view. I marked the volcanic make of it. Its loftiest peaks, cast up from the sea's bottom ages ago, peered from the long cloud streamers a mile and a half above my eyes. Its valleys were caverns of shadow, in which were secreted the wonders I had come so far to see.
The mentor-world traveler, Volume 10



Suppose it is Sunday, the fete-market of the week. By the wash-pool in the centre of the square are girls and women in their brightest and best, men from the mountains and lads from the country, fern and flower wreaths around their hats, with garlands of the Tahitian gardenia, " Tiare Tahiti" so sweet, pure, and white, and scenting for yards the balmy atmosphere.
The romance of the South Seas
By Clement Lindley Wragge

His house was toward the farther end of the main street, and set upon a spacious lawn a hundred feet from the street, which, by the same token, was also a lawn, for there was no sign of the unadorned earth. So little wheeled traffic was there that bare feet walked on a matting of grass and plants as soft as seaweed on the beach. The street was bordered with cocoanuts and pandanus, and the chief's dwelling had about it breadfruit, papayas, and cocoanuts. The grounds were divided from neighbors' parks by hedges of tiare Tahiti, gardenias, roses, and red and white oleanders. I drew in their perfume as Ori-a-Ori said, "la ora na!" and took and held my hand a moment, while his grave eyes studied my face in all kindliness.
Mystic isles of the South Seas
By Frederick O'Brien

Every evening at dusk I find her standing by the wicketgate of the hotel garden, in the shadow of the chestnut-tree. She has a little white scented flower for me, wrapped for shelter from the rude world in a sheath of coiled green leaf. It smells like jasmine, fresh and virginal; it is shaped like a lotus. It is the tiare maohi, or native single gardenia, the flower par Eminence of the island; but I had not yet learnt its name.
Tahiti
By George Calderon

The island also has its picturesque and historical sides. The roads are even more densely wooded than those of Tahiti, and the coast-line is a medley of little blue bays overhung with snaky palms and fringed with scarlet and yellow lines of hibiscus and gardenia bushes (tiare Tahiti).
The log of an island wanderer. Notes of travel in the eastern Pacific
By Edwin Pallander

The volcano we were desirous of seeing was thirty miles from the place of our landing, and we set out for it on the following day, attended by some of the natives, and also by the English settler, to act as interpreter. The commencement of our journey seemed auspicious, leading through a wood, where trees afforded a grateful shade from the heat of a tropical sun, while gorgeous birds fluttered among their boughs, or regaled us with the melody of their songs The fragrant gardenia, and other beautiful flowers, so highly prized in our own country as hot-house plants, profusely adomed our path.
Harper's magazine, Volume 3

The best way to travel about Tahiti is by automobile, and there is no trouble to hire one. In all directions you will find pictorial plenty. From the road leading west along the shore— an avenue of cocoanut-palms, mango and vanillatrees—there is many a charming glimpse of the neighboring island, Moorea, with its fascinating sky-line; and numerous side-tracks from the highway give access to exquisite vistas of river and mountain-scenery. Long stretches of the wayside are lined by crimson hibiscus, beautiful hedges of lantana, and white gardenias with their heavy fragrance; the scarlet chili-pod grows rampant; and orange-trees dangle their golden fruit.
Photo-era magazine, Volume 47