"When the Englishmen sailed for Raiatea, they were accompanied by a fleet of about sixty canoes carrying members of the arioi,
an elite society of arii
dedicated to conceiving and performing theatrical entertainments, on a visit to the neighboring island. Soon after they arrived, the group staged a performance, called a heiva,
in this case a pantomime done in such exaggerated style that it was impossible to mistake the actors' meaning. The Englishmen were especially amused at a scene depicting childbirth in which the parts of both laboring woman and newborn child were played by men, although they were surprised that the women in the audience could watch the performance without embarrassment. Adept at improvisation, the actors added skits about the English, including one bit about a Tahitian girl who ran off with the English only to receive a thorough scolding when she returned home."
— Lynn Withey,
Voyages of Discovery: Captain Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific