Teehuteatuaenoa was born in Polynesia, probably on Tahiti. She was evidently of noble blood, as evidenced by the “atua” in her name. Unfortunately, that is all that is known of her early life and background.
When the Bounty first dropped anchor in Matavai Bay in 1788, she was one of the first to form an attachment, to the crewmember Alexander Smith (John Adams). She even got a tattoo on her left arm which said “AS 1789.” Their relationship lasted into the next year when for reasons not entirely clear their relationship ended, and she instead began a relationship with Isaac Martin, whom she would always after affectionately refer to as “Madden.”
After the Bounty mutiny, Martin was among those who returned to Tahiti, and he and Teehuteatuaenoa renewed their relationship, and she departed with him to Tubuai. She was a witness to the carnage that followed, and in her later years she revealed that there was an inside plot by one of their Tahitian allies to murder the crew of the Bounty and take all they owned, which was thwarted.
Returning to Tahiti, she elected to remain with Martin, whom she was said by now to have married. They were among the few who left on the Bounty and eventually ended up on Pitcairn Island. She and Martin settled down to what they hoped would be a quiet life, tending to their property and gardens and trying to stay out of the intrigues which soon culminated in multiple tragedies.
Following the Tararo “rebellion,” Teehuteatuaenoa and Martin took the Tubuaian Tetahiti and his wife Tinafanea to work for them, in order to spare them from the humiliation that the other Polynesian men were suffering at the hands of the Bounty crew. Sadly, things would only get worse. Barely three years after landing on Pitcairn, the remaining Polynesian men took up arms and went on a massacre, which took the lives of all but four of the former Bounty crew. Martin was among those killed, by the Polynesian Manari’i. Distraught at the murder of her beloved “Madden,” and furious at Tetahiti for having taken a part in the massacre, Teehuteatuaenoa entered into a tense alliance with the mutineer Edward Young and some of the other women. Two of the four Polynesians were soon killed, and Teehuteatuaenoa, acting as a decoy, attracted Tetahiti into her bed, giving Young's wife Teraura the opportunity to kill him with an axe, while around the same time Young killed the final Polynesian man.
Teehuteatuaenoa moved in with Matthew Quintal and his wife Tevarua, but she did not stay with them long. Having lost Martin, and being of an independent spirit, she stayed (at least part of the time) around Western Harbor with the woman Mareva, where she tended a breadfruit plot. Since Martin's head, and hence his skull, was completely mutilated, she received permission from Toofaiti to carry around her deceased husband, John Williams’s skull, as per custom. Young, on seeing this, as well as other women carrying the skulls of the departed, demanded all the remains be buried. Teehuteatuaenoa was notable for being the first to tell him no, and so a new rebellion began, this time with a group of the women, with Jenny leading them, fighting the four surviving mutineers and a couple of the women who supported them. In the end, Young proposed to Jenny to build a ship for her and her supporters so they could sail back to Tahiti. She agreed, and even tore down her and Martins old house to use as building materials, but Young and the other three men sabotaged the ship, and it capsized. Teehuteatuaenoa came very close to killing Young after this, but they both decided to make peace. All the remains of the killed men were buried, and life settled down, with Teehuteatuaenoa and Mareva (and possibly others) living in Western Harbor.
Within a decade of the Bounty landing on Pitcairn, all of the Bounty mutineers except Alexander Smith had died. Around this time, Smith converted to Christianity, and so did most of the population. Teehuteatuaenoa still adhered to the spirituality of her forefathers, but at the same time adopted many of the aspects of Christianity. But she always had a longing to return to Tahiti. When the Topaz visited Pitcairn in 1808, she (and possibly Mareva) spoke to Captain Folger about passage, and he told her he hoped to return in eight months time. Due to a number of circumstances, he never did. However, in October, 1817 the ship Sultan, under the command of Captain Reynolds visited Pitcairn and gave Teehuteatuaenoa passage on to Tahiti. Her friend Mareva would not go, opting to remain on Pitcairn (she would die a couple of years later).
After a long trip, Jenny eventually returned to Tahiti. She found it changed, and in her opinion, for the worst. However, it was here that she arguably made her greatest contribution to Pitcairn. Very shortly after arriving she was interviewed about her experiences with the Bounty and Pitcairn, which was printed in the “Sydney Gazette” in 1819. In 1824 she was interviewed by the explorer Otto von Kotzebue, but her most in-depth interview was given to a Captain Dillon and the missionary Mr. Nott, which was printed in the “United Service Journal and Naval and Military Magazine” in 1829.
Always championing for the Pitcairn Islanders to be moved to Tahiti, this dream was eventually realized in 1831. Her old friends found her by now to be a bitter, jaded woman, but she nonetheless helped the small community as much as she could. Disease would claim a large number of them before they managed to get back to Pitcairn. Teehuteatuaenoa did not go with them. Some say she died while the Pitcairners were in Tahiti, while others say that she decided to remain there, waving them off when they departed on the American whaling ship Charles Doggett. Though the time and manner of her death is not completely known, she passed away on her homeland.
Though she wasn't born on Pitcairn, or died on Pitcairn, Teehuteatuaenoa, or “Jenny,” as she is more commonly known as, was one of the original settlers of the present Pitcairn Island community. Her contributions to the women's independence, and the history of Pitcairn are considerable, and she is someone whom the Pitcairn people should be justly proud.