Twice does Matahi break the tabu. The first time when he flees with his beloved one, Reri ("tabu"). He gains love. The second time when he pearl dives in forbidden ("tabu") shark-infested waters. He gains a means to pay his debts. Despite the ending, he always gains. Reri was haunted by the threat of the tabu, she could not adapt to a new way of living and thinking. Thus, to NOT break this tabu means death.