Tava'e Raioao was born in 1946 in Tahiti. In 2002, he had survived 118 days at sea drifting then finally washing up in Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. He gave an account of his journey to French writer, Lionel Duroy who published Si loin du monde that has since been translated into English, with the title So Far the World.
In 2009 work had begun to open a museum in the Cook Islands to commemorate his feat. Tavae Raioaoa suffered from poor health in recent years and was also forced to seek care in France. Tavae Raioaoa died in 2010 at the age of 64 years .