Narcissus Tahiti

A few of us were wondering about some particularly stunning daffodils which had been planted at our chapel’s front, and had perfectly timed the best of their bloom for Easter Sunday. I believe they are Narcissus Tahiti. They are a stunning, double-flowering daffodil with deep golden-yellow petals with orange ruffles in the centre. Tahiti was once the centre of French Polynesia, a by-word for the exotic. The beautiful island received representatives of the London Missionary Society in March 1797, and a great influence for the gospel they enjoyed for the next few years.

In the 1820s, the entire population of Tahiti converted to Protestant Christianity. Louis Isidore Duperrey, a French explorer, observed in 1823 that “The missionaries of the Royal Society of London have totally changed the morals and customs of the inhabitants. Idolatry no longer exists among them, and they generally profess the Christian religion. The women no longer come aboard the vessel, and even when we meet them on land they are extremely reserved. The bloody wars that these people used to carry out and human sacrifices have no longer taken place since 1816."

Sadly, Duperrey’s countrymen defeated the British in the 1840s and the island was more influenced by French priestcraft. Today, under half the population claims to be Protestant. Just as our beautiful dafs seemingly thrive in the shadow of our chapel, may the gospel-preaching churches of Tahiti flourish in that most exotic, earthly paradise.

The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Psalm 97:1