French Polynesia

French Polynesia

Overview
French Polynesia ˈfrɛntʃ pɒlɨˈniːʒə is an overseas country of the French Republic
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (pays d'outre-mer). It is made up of several groups of Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n islands, the most famous island being Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 in the Society Islands
Society Islands
The Society Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. They are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is generally believed to have been named by Captain James Cook in honor of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands;...

 group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory (Papeetē
Papeete
-Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront esplanade*Bougainville Park -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront...

). Although not an integral part of its territory, Clipperton Island
Clipperton Island
Clipperton Island is an uninhabited nine-square-kilometre coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean, southwest of Mexico and west of Central America, at...

 was administered from French Polynesia until 2007.


The island groups that make up French Polynesia were not officially united until the establishment of the French protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 in 1889.
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Encyclopedia
French Polynesia ˈfrɛntʃ pɒlɨˈniːʒə is an overseas country of the French Republic
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (pays d'outre-mer). It is made up of several groups of Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n islands, the most famous island being Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 in the Society Islands
Society Islands
The Society Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. They are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is generally believed to have been named by Captain James Cook in honor of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands;...

 group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory (Papeetē
Papeete
-Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront esplanade*Bougainville Park -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront...

). Although not an integral part of its territory, Clipperton Island
Clipperton Island
Clipperton Island is an uninhabited nine-square-kilometre coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean, southwest of Mexico and west of Central America, at...

 was administered from French Polynesia until 2007.

History



The island groups that make up French Polynesia were not officially united until the establishment of the French protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 in 1889. The first of these islands to be settled by indigenous Polynesians
Polynesians
The Polynesian peoples is a grouping of various ethnic groups that speak Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic languages within the Austronesian languages, and inhabit Polynesia. They number approximately 1,500,000 people...

 were the Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

 in AD 300 and the Society Islands
Society Islands
The Society Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. They are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is generally believed to have been named by Captain James Cook in honor of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands;...

 in AD 800. The Polynesians were organized in loose chieftainships.

European communication began in 1521 when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

 sighted Pukapuka
Pukapuka
Pukapuka is a coral atoll in the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean, with three small islets threaded on a reef that encloses a beautifully clear lagoon. It is the most remote island of the Cook Islands, situated about 1140 kilometres northwest of Rarotonga. It is a triangular atoll with three...

 in the Tuamotu Archipelago. Dutchman Jakob Roggeveen
Jakob Roggeveen
Jacob Roggeveen was a Dutch explorer who was sent to find Terra Australis, but he instead came across Easter Island...

 came across Bora Bora
Bora Bora
The commune of Bora-Bora is made up of the island of Bora Bora proper with its surrounding islets emerging from the coral reef, 29.3 km² in total, and of the atoll of Tupai , located north of Bora Bora...

 in the Society Islands in 1722, and the British explorer Samuel Wallis
Samuel Wallis
Samuel Wallis was a Cornish navigator who circumnavigated the world.Wallis was born near Camelford, Cornwall. In 1766 he was given the command of HMS Dolphin to circumnavigate the world, accompanied by the Swallow under the command of Philip Carteret...

 visited Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 in 1767. The French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville was a French admiral and explorer. A contemporary of James Cook, he took part in the French and Indian War and the unsuccessful French attempt to defend Canada from Britain...

 visited Tahiti in 1768, while the British explorer James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

 visited in 1769. Christian missions
Mission (Christian)
Christian missionary activities often involve sending individuals and groups , to foreign countries and to places in their own homeland. This has frequently involved not only evangelization , but also humanitarian work, especially among the poor and disadvantaged...

 began with Spanish priests who stayed in Tahiti for a year from 1774; Protestants from the London Missionary Society
London Missionary Society
The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa...

 settled permanently in Polynesia in 1797.

King Pōmare II
Pomare II
Pōmare II, King of Tahiti , fully Tu Tunuieaiteatua Pōmare II or in modern orthography Tū Tū-nui-ēa-i-te-atua Pōmare II , was the second king of Tahiti between 1782 and 1821. He was installed by his father Pōmare I at Tarahoi, February 13, 1791...

 of Tahiti was forced to flee to Mo'orea
Moorea
Moʻorea is a high island in French Polynesia, part of the Society Islands, 17 km northwest of Tahiti. Its position is . Moʻorea means "yellow lizard" in Tahitian...

 in 1803; he and his subjects were converted to Protestantism in 1812. French Catholic missionaries arrived on Tahiti in 1834; their expulsion in 1836 caused France to send a gunboat in 1838. In 1842, Tahiti and Tahuata
Tahuata
Tahuata is the smallest of the inhabited Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is located 4 km to the south of the western end of Hiva Oa, across the Canal du Bordelais, called Ha‘ava in Marquesan.-Administration:Administratively,...

 were declared a French protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

, to allow Catholic missionaries to work undisturbed. The capital of Papeetē
Papeete
-Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront esplanade*Bougainville Park -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront...

 was founded in 1843. In 1880, France annexed Tahiti, changing the status from that of a protectorate to that of a colony
French colonial empires
The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

.

In the 1880s, France claimed the Tuamotu Archipelago, which formerly belonged to the Pōmare Dynasty
Pomare Dynasty
The Kingdom of Tahiti was founded by paramount chief Pōmare I, who, with the aide of English missionaries and traders, and European weaponry, unifed the islands of Tahiti, Moʻorea, Tetiaroa, Mehetia and at its peak consists of the other Society Islands of eastern Polynesia. Their leaders were...

, without formally annexing it. Having declared a protectorate over Tahuata in 1842, the French regarded the entire Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

 as French. In 1885, France appointed a governor and established a general council, thus giving it the proper administration for a colony. The islands of Rimatara
Rimatara
Rimatara is the westernmost inhabited island in the Austral Islands of French Polynesia. It has a total surface area of and a population of 786 inhabitants . It is located south of Tahiti and west of Rurutu...

 and Rūrutu unsuccessfully lobbied for British protection in 1888, so in 1889 they were annexed by France. Postage stamps were first issued in the colony in 1892. The first official name for the colony was Établissements de l'Océanie (Settlements in Oceania); in 1903 the general council was changed to an advisory council and the colony's name was changed to Établissements Français de l'Océanie (French Settlements in Oceania).

In 1940 the administration of French Polynesia recognised the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 and many Polynesians served in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Unknown at the time to French and Polynesians, the Konoe
Fumimaro Konoe
Prince was a politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Taisei Yokusankai.- Early life :...

 Cabinet in Imperial Japan on 16 September 1940 included French Polynesia among the many territories which were to become Japanese possessions in the post-war world – though in the course of the war in the Pacific the Japanese were not able to launch an actual invasion of the French islands.

In 1946, Polynesians were granted French citizenship and the islands' status was changed to an overseas territory; the islands' name was changed in 1957 to Polynésie Française (French Polynesia). In 1962, France's early nuclear testing ground of Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 became independent and the Maruroa atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago was selected as the new testing site; tests were conducted underground after 1974. In 1977, French Polynesia was granted partial internal autonomy; in 1984, the autonomy was extended. French Polynesia became a full overseas collectivity of France in 2004.

In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing at Fangataufa
Fangataufa
Fangataufa is a small, low, narrow, coral atoll in the eastern side of the Tuamotu Archipelago. Along with its neighboring atoll, Moruroa, it has been the site of approximately 200 nuclear bomb tests....

 atoll after a three-year moratorium
Moratorium (law)
A moratorium is a delay or suspension of an activity or a law. In a legal context, it may refer to the temporary suspension of a law to allow a legal challenge to be carried out....

. The last test was on 27 January 1996. On 29 January 1996, France announced that it would accede to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but it has not entered into force.-Status:...

, and no longer test nuclear weapons.

Politics



Politics of French Polynesia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 representative democratic
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 French overseas collectivity
Collectivité d'outre-mer
The French overseas collectivities , like the French regions are first-order administrative divisions of France. The COMs include some former French overseas territories and other French overseas entities with a particular status, all of which became COMs by constitutional reform on 28 March...

, whereby the President of French Polynesia is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, and of a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. Executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

 is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Assembly of French Polynesia
Assembly of French Polynesia
The Assembly of French Polynesia is the unicameral legislature of French Polynesia, located at the Place Tarahoi in Papeete, Tahiti. It consists of 57 members who are elected by popular vote and by proportional representation in 6 multi-seat constituencies. The only official language of the...

 (the territorial assembly).

Political life in French Polynesia has been marked by great instability since the mid-2000s. On 14 September 2007, the pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru
Oscar Temaru
Oscar Manutahi Temaru is a French Polynesian politician. He has been President of French Polynesia , a French dependency with broad powers of self-rule, on five occasions: in 2004, from 2005 to 2006, from 2007 to 2008, in 2009, and again since 1 April 2011.-Career:He first served as the President...

, 63, was elected president of French Polynesia for the 3rd time in 3 years (with 27 of 44 votes
Votes
Votes are a people of Votia in Ingria, the part of modern day northwestern Russia that is roughly southwest of Saint Petersburg and east of the Estonian border-town of Narva. Their own ethnic name is Vadjalain . The Finnic Votic language spoken by Votes is close to extinction. Votians were one of...

 cast in the territorial assembly). He replaced former President Gaston Tong Sang
Gaston Tong Sang
Gaston Tong Sang is the former President of French Polynesia. He served terms as President of French Polynesia from November 2009 until April 2011, from April 2008 until February 2009 and from December 2006 until September 2007.; he is currently the Mayor of Bora-Bora...

, opposed to independence, who lost a no-confidence vote in the Assembly of French Polynesia on 31 August after the longtime former president of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse
Gaston Flosse
Gaston Flosse is a French Polynesian politician who has been President of French Polynesia on four separate occasions. He is currently a member of the Senate of France.-Life and career:...

, hitherto opposed to independence, sided with his long enemy Oscar Temaru to topple the government of Gaston Tong Sang. Oscar Temaru, however, had no stable majority in the Assembly of French Polynesia, and new territorial elections were held in February 2008 to solve the political crisis.

The party of Gaston Tong Sang won the territorial elections, but that did not solve the political crisis: the two minority parties of Oscar Temaru and Gaston Flosse, who together have one more member in the territorial assembly than the political party of Gaston Tong Sang, allied to prevent Gaston Tong Sang from becoming president of French Polynesia. Gaston Flosse was then elected president of French Polynesia by the territorial assembly on February 23, 2008 with the support of the pro-independence party led by Oscar Temaru, while Oscar Temaru was elected speaker of the territorial assembly with the support of the anti-independence party led by Gaston Flosse. Both formed a coalition cabinet. Many observers doubted that the alliance between the anti-independence Gaston Flosse and the pro-independence Oscar Temaru, designed to prevent Gaston Tong Sang from becoming president of French Polynesia, could last very long.

At the French municipal elections held in March 2008
French municipal elections, 2008
The French municipal elections of 2008 were held on 9 March in that year to elect the municipal councils of France's 36,782 communes...

, several prominent mayors who are member of the Flosse-Temaru coalition lost their offices in key municipalities of French Polynesia, which was interpreted as a disapproval of the way Gaston Tong Sang, whose party French Polynesian voters had placed first in the territorial elections the month before, had been prevented from becoming president of French Polynesia by the last minute alliance between Flosse and Temaru's parties. Eventually, on 15 April 2008 the government of Gaston Flosse was toppled by a constructive vote of no confidence
Constructive vote of no confidence
The constructive vote of no confidence is a variation on the motion of no confidence which allows a parliament to withdraw confidence from a head of government only if there is a positive majority for a prospective successor...

 in the territorial assembly when two members of the Flosse-Temaru coalition left the coalition and sided with Tong Sang's party. Gaston Tong Sang was elected president of French Polynesia as a result of this constructive vote of no confidence, but his majority in the territorial assembly is very narrow. He offered posts in his cabinet to Flosse and Temaru's parties which they both refused. Gaston Tong Sang has called all parties to help end the instability in local politics, a prerequisite to attract foreign investors needed to develop the local economy.


Despite a local assembly and government, French Polynesia is not in a free association
Associated state
An associated state is the minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a nation, for which no other specific term, such as protectorate, is adopted...

 with France, like the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

 with New Zealand or the Federated States of Micronesia
Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia or FSM is an independent, sovereign island nation, made up of four states from west to east: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. It comprises approximately 607 islands with c...

 with the United States. As a French overseas collectivity, the local government has no competence in justice, education, security and defense, directly provided and administered by the French State, the Gendarmerie and the French Military. The highest representative of the State in the territory is the High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia .

French Polynesia also sends two deputies
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 to the French National Assembly, one representing the Leeward Islands
Leeward Islands (Society Islands)
The Leeward Islands are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. They lie south of the Line Islands , east of the Cooks and north of the Austral Islands . Their area is 395 km² with a population of over 33,000...

 administrative subdivision
Administrative divisions of French Polynesia
There are two levels of administrative divisions of French Polynesia, five administrative subdivisions each of which is further divided into a total of 48 communes. Many of the communes are further subdivided into communes associées...

, the Austral Islands
Austral Islands
The Austral Islands are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. Geographically, they consist of two separate archipelagos, namely in the northwest the Tubuai Islands consisting of the Îles Maria, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai...

 administrative subdivision, the commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 (municipality) of Mo'orea-Mai'ao
Moorea-Maiao
Moorea-Maiao is a commune of French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune is in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands....

, and the westernmost part of Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 (including the capital Papeetē
Papeete
-Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront esplanade*Bougainville Park -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront...

), and the other representing the central and eastern part of Tahiti, the Tuāmotu-Gambier
Îles Tuamotu-Gambier
The Îles Tuamotu-Gambier Tuamotu-Gambier) geographically consist of the Tuamotus and the Gambier Islands which are geographically located closely together....

 administrative division, and the Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

 administrative division. French Polynesia also sends one senator to the French Senate.

French Polynesians vote in the French presidential elections and at the 2007 French presidential election
French presidential election, 2007
The 2007 French presidential election, the ninth of the Fifth French Republic was held to elect the successor to Jacques Chirac as president of France for a five-year term.The winner, decided on 5 and 6 May 2007, was Nicolas Sarkozy...

, in which the pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru openly called to vote for the Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal
Ségolène Royal
Marie-Ségolène Royal , known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party...

 while the parties opposed to independence generally supported the center-right candidate Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

, the turnout
Voter turnout
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election . After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s...

 in French Polynesia was 69.12% in the first round of the election and 74.67% in the second round. French Polynesians voters placed Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of Ségolène Royal in both rounds of the election (2nd round: Nicolas Sarkozy 51.9%; Ségolène Royal 48.1%).

Administration


Between 1946 and 2003, French Polynesia had the status of an overseas territory (French: territoire d'outre-mer
Territoire d'outre-mer
The term overseas territory , is an administrative division of France and is currently only applied to the French Southern and Antarctic Lands....

, or TOM). In 2003 it became an overseas collectivity (French: collectivité d'outre-mer
Collectivité d'outre-mer
The French overseas collectivities , like the French regions are first-order administrative divisions of France. The COMs include some former French overseas territories and other French overseas entities with a particular status, all of which became COMs by constitutional reform on 28 March...

, or COM). Its statutory law of 27 February 2004 gives it the particular designation of overseas country inside the Republic , but without legal modification of its status.

Administrative divisions



French Polynesia has five administrative subdivisions :
  • Marquesas Islands
    Marquesas Islands
    The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

     ( or officially )
  • Leeward Islands
    Leeward Islands (Society Islands)
    The Leeward Islands are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. They lie south of the Line Islands , east of the Cooks and north of the Austral Islands . Their area is 395 km² with a population of over 33,000...

     ( or officially ) (the two Windward Islands
    Windward Islands (Society Islands)
    The Windward Islands are the eastern group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean.-Geography:...

     and Leeward Islands
    Leeward Islands (Society Islands)
    The Leeward Islands are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. They lie south of the Line Islands , east of the Cooks and north of the Austral Islands . Their area is 395 km² with a population of over 33,000...

     are part of the Society Islands
    Society Islands
    The Society Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. They are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is generally believed to have been named by Captain James Cook in honor of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands;...

    )
  • Windward Islands
    Windward Islands (Society Islands)
    The Windward Islands are the eastern group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean.-Geography:...

     ( or officially ) (the two Windward Islands
    Windward Islands (Society Islands)
    The Windward Islands are the eastern group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean.-Geography:...

     and Leeward Islands
    Leeward Islands (Society Islands)
    The Leeward Islands are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. They lie south of the Line Islands , east of the Cooks and north of the Austral Islands . Their area is 395 km² with a population of over 33,000...

     are part of the Society Islands
    Society Islands
    The Society Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. They are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is generally believed to have been named by Captain James Cook in honor of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands;...

    )
  • Tuāmotu-Gambier
    Îles Tuamotu-Gambier
    The Îles Tuamotu-Gambier Tuamotu-Gambier) geographically consist of the Tuamotus and the Gambier Islands which are geographically located closely together....

     ( or officially ) (the Tuamotus
    Tuamotus
    The Tuamotus or the Tuamotu Archipelago are a chain of islands and atolls in French Polynesia. They form the largest chain of atolls in the world, spanning an area of the Pacific Ocean roughly the size of Western Europe...

     and the Gambier Islands
    Gambier Islands
    There was a time when the Gambiers hosted a population of several thousand people and traded with other island groups including the Marquesas, the Society Islands and Pitcairn Islands...

    )
  • Austral Islands
    Austral Islands
    The Austral Islands are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. Geographically, they consist of two separate archipelagos, namely in the northwest the Tubuai Islands consisting of the Îles Maria, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai...

     ( or officially ) (including the Bass Islands)

Geography




The islands of French Polynesia have a total land area of 4,167 square kilometres (1,622 sq. mi) scattered over 2,500,000 square kilometres (965,255 sq. mi) of ocean. There are around 130 islands in French Polynesia. The highest point is Mount Orohena on Tahiti.

It is made up of six groups of islands. The largest and most populated island is Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

, in the Society Islands.

The island groups are:
  • Marquesas Islands
    Marquesas Islands
    The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

  • Society Islands
    Society Islands
    The Society Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. They are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is generally believed to have been named by Captain James Cook in honor of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands;...

  • Tuamotu Archipelago
  • Gambier Islands
    Gambier Islands
    There was a time when the Gambiers hosted a population of several thousand people and traded with other island groups including the Marquesas, the Society Islands and Pitcairn Islands...

     often considered part of the Tuamotu Archipelago
  • Austral Islands
    Austral Islands
    The Austral Islands are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. Geographically, they consist of two separate archipelagos, namely in the northwest the Tubuai Islands consisting of the Îles Maria, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai...

  • Bass Islands often considered part of the Austral Islands


Aside from Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

, some other important atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

s, islands, and island groups in French Polynesia are: Ahē
Ahe
Ahe, Ahemaru or Omaru, is an almost entirely-enclosed coral atoll, located in the northern Tuamotu Archipelago, just 14 km to the west of Manihi, in French Polynesia.Ahe Atoll's ring shape is broken by only a single small passage into the lagoon....

, Pora Pora
Bora Bora
The commune of Bora-Bora is made up of the island of Bora Bora proper with its surrounding islets emerging from the coral reef, 29.3 km² in total, and of the atoll of Tupai , located north of Bora Bora...

, Hiva 'Oa
Hiva Oa
Hiva Oa is the second largest island in the Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest island of the Southern Marquesas group. According to local religion, the gods created the islands as their home. Therefore all islands have...

, Huahine
Huahine
Huahine is an island located among the Society Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Leeward Islands group . The island has a population of about 6,000.-Geography:...

, Mai'ao
Maiao
Maiao is an island formation located southwest of Moorea and one of the Windward Islands in French Polynesia.-Geography:...

, Maupiti
Maupiti
Maupiti is a small coral atoll with a volcanic island in its midst.-Geography:Maupiti is located to the west of the Leeward Islands in French Polynesia. It is the westernmost volcanic high island in the archipelago, 40 km west of Bora Bora. The central island of Maupiti has a high peak of 380...

, Meheti'a
Mehetia
Mehetia or Meetia is a volcanic island in the Windward Islands, in the east of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. This island is a very young active stratovolcano east of Taiarapu Peninsula of Tahiti. It belongs to the Teahitia-Mehetia hotspot....

, Mo'orea
Moorea
Moʻorea is a high island in French Polynesia, part of the Society Islands, 17 km northwest of Tahiti. Its position is . Moʻorea means "yellow lizard" in Tahitian...

, Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It was formerly also known as Île Marchand and Madison Island....

, Ra'iātea
Raiatea
Raiatea , is the second largest of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, in French Polynesia. The island is widely regarded as the 'center' of the eastern islands in ancient Polynesia and it is likely that the organised migrations to Hawaii, Aotearoa and other parts of East Polynesia started at...

, Taha'a
Tahaa
Tahaa is an island located among the Society Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean...

, Te Ti'aroa
Tetiaroa
Tetiaroa is a private atoll in the Windward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. Once the vacation spot for Tahitian royalty, the atoll is widely known for having been purchased by Marlon Brando...

, Tupua'i
Tubuai (Austral Islands)
Tubuai is the name of a group of islands and also the name of its main island, being part of the Austral Islands, French Polynesia, in the Pacific Ocean. Tubuai, the main island of the Tubuai Island group, is located at . It is south of Tahiti...

, and Tūpai
Tupai
Tupai is a low-lying atoll in Society Islands, French Polynesia. It lies 19 km to the north of Bora Bora and belongs to the Leeward Islands . This small atoll is only 11 km² in area. Its broad coral reef encloses a shallow sandy lagoon. There are almost continuous long wooded motus on...

.
Top 3 largest communes
Commune Island Population
Faaa
Faaa
Faaa is a commune in the suburbs of Papeete in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. Faaa is located on the island of Tahiti, in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands, themselves part of the Society Islands. Faaa has a population of 29,851, making...

 
Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 
29,900
Papeete
Papeete
-Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront esplanade*Bougainville Park -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront...

 
Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 
26,300
Mahina
Mahina, French Polynesia
Mahina is a commune in the suburbs of Papeete in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. Mahina is located on the island of Tahiti, in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands, themselves part of the Society Islands. Mahina is the 3rd largest city in...

 
Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 
14,500

Economy



The GDP of French Polynesia in 2006 was 5.65 billion US dollars at market exchange rates, the fifth-largest economy in Oceania after Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

. The GDP per capita was 21,999 US dollars in 2006 (at market exchange rates, not at PPP
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

), lower than in Hawai'i, Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, but higher than in all the independent insular states of Oceania.

French Polynesia has a moderately developed economy, which is dependent on imported goods, tourism, and the financial assistance of mainland France. Tourist facilities are well developed and are available on the major islands. Also, as the noni
Noni
Morinda citrifolia, commonly known as great morinda, Indian mulberry, nunaakai , dog dumpling , mengkudu , Kumudu , pace , beach mulberry, cheese fruit or noni is a tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae...

 fruit from these islands is discovered for its medicinal uses, people have been able to find jobs related to this agricultural industry.

The legal tender of French Polynesia is the CFP Franc
CFP franc
The CFP franc is the currency used in the French overseas collectivities of French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna. The initials CFP originally stood for Colonies Françaises du Pacifique...

.

Agriculture: coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

s, vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Flat-leaved Vanilla . The word vanilla derives from the Spanish word "", little pod...

, vegetables, fruits.

Natural resources: timber, fish, cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

.

In 2008 French Polynesia's imports amounted to 2.2 billion US dollars and exports amounted to 0.2 billion US dollars. The major export of French Polynesia is their famous black Tahitian pearls which accounted for 55% of exports (in value) in 2008.

Demographics




Total population on 1 January 2010 was 267,000 inhabitants, up from 259,596 at the August 2007 census. At the 2007 census, 68.6% of the population of French Polynesia lived on the island of Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 alone. The urban area of Papeetē
Papeete
-Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront esplanade*Bougainville Park -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront...

, the capital city, has 131,695 inhabitants (2007 census).

At the 2007 census, 87.3% of people living in French Polynesia were born in French Polynesia, 9.3% were born in metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

, 1.4% were born in overseas France outside of French Polynesia, and 2.0% were born in foreign countries. At the 1988 census, the last census which asked questions regarding ethnicity, 66.5% of people were ethnically unmixed Polynesians, 7.1 % were Polynesians with light European and/or East Asian mixing, 11.9% were Europeans
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....

 (mostly French), 9.3% were people of mixed European and Polynesian descent, the so-called Demis (literally meaning "Half"), and 4.7% were East Asians (mainly Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

).

The Europeans, the Demis and the East Asians are essentially concentrated on the island of Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

, particularly in the urban area of Papeetē
Papeete
-Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront esplanade*Bougainville Park -Sights:* Interactive Google map of Papeete, to discover the 30 major tourist attractions in Papeete downtown.*The waterfront...

, where their share of the population is thus much greater than in French Polynesia overall. Race mixing
Miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

 has been going on for more than a century already in French Polynesia, resulting in a rather mixed society. For example Gaston Flosse
Gaston Flosse
Gaston Flosse is a French Polynesian politician who has been President of French Polynesia on four separate occasions. He is currently a member of the Senate of France.-Life and career:...

, the long-time leader of French Polynesia, is a Demi (European father from Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

 and Polynesian mother). His main opponent and former president, Gaston Tong Sang
Gaston Tong Sang
Gaston Tong Sang is the former President of French Polynesia. He served terms as President of French Polynesia from November 2009 until April 2011, from April 2008 until February 2009 and from December 2006 until September 2007.; he is currently the Mayor of Bora-Bora...

 is a member of the East Asian (in his case Chinese) community. Oscar Temaru
Oscar Temaru
Oscar Manutahi Temaru is a French Polynesian politician. He has been President of French Polynesia , a French dependency with broad powers of self-rule, on five occasions: in 2004, from 2005 to 2006, from 2007 to 2008, in 2009, and again since 1 April 2011.-Career:He first served as the President...

, the current president, is ethnically Polynesian (father from Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

, mother from the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

), but he has admitted to also have Chinese ancestry.

Despite a long tradition of race mixing, racial tensions have been growing in recent years, with politicians using a xenophobic
Xenophobia
Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange". It comes from the Greek words ξένος , meaning "stranger," "foreigner" and φόβος , meaning "fear."...

 discourse and fanning the flame of racial tensions. The pro-independence politicians have long pointed the finger at the European community (Oscar Temaru, pro-independence leader and former president of French Polynesia, was for example found guilty of "racial discrimination" by the criminal court of Papeetē in 2007 for having referred to the Europeans living in French Polynesia as "trash", "waste"). More recently, the Chinese community which controls many businesses in French Polynesia has been targeted in verbal attacks by the newly allied Gaston Flosse and Oscar Temaru in their political fight against Gaston Tong Sang, whose Chinese origins they emphasize in contrast with their Polynesian origins, despite the fact that they both have mixed origins (European and Polynesian for Flosse; Polynesian and Chinese for Temaru).

In April 2008, after the government of Gaston Flosse was toppled in the Assembly of French Polynesia and Gaston Tong Sang became the new president of French Polynesia, two French Polynesian labor union leaders made anti-Chinese remarks ("I'm not hiding from the fact that I wouldn't like our country to be ruled by someone who's not a Polynesian"; "a Chinese only thinks of the business leaders, because he is a businessman"). These anti-Chinese remarks caused a political furor and were widely condemned in French Polynesia.

Historical population

1907 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1941 1946 1951 1956
30,600 31,900 31,600 35,900 40,400 44,000 51,200 58,200 63,300 76,323
1962 1971 1977 1983 1988 1996 2002 2007 2010
84,551 119,168 137,382 166,753 188,814 219,521 245,516 259,596 267,000
Official figures from past censuses.

Languages



French is the only official language of French Polynesia. An organic law
Organic law
An organic or fundamental law is a law or system of laws which forms the foundation of a government, corporation or other organization's body of rules. A constitution is a particular form of organic law for a sovereign state....

 of 12 April 1996 states that "French is the official language, Tahitian and other Polynesian languages can be used." At the 2007 census, among the population whose age was 15 and older, 68.5% of people reported that the language they speak the most at home is French, 29.9% reported that the language they speak the most at home is any of the Polynesian languages
Polynesian languages
The Polynesian languages are a language family spoken in the region known as Polynesia. They are classified as part of the Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family. They fall into two branches: Tongic and Nuclear Polynesian. Polynesians share many cultural traits...

 (four-fifth of which Tahitian
Tahitian language
Tahitian is an indigenous language spoken mainly in the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is an Eastern Polynesian language closely related to the other indigenous languages spoken in French Polynesia: Marquesan, Tuamotuan, Mangarevan, and Austral Islands languages...

), 1.0% reported a Chinese language (half of which Hakka), and 0.6% another language.

At the same census, 94.7% of people whose age was 15 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas only 2.0% reported that they had no knowledge of French. 74.6% of people whose age was 15 or older reported that they could speak, read and write one of the Polynesian languages, whereas 13.6% reported that they had no knowledge of any of the Polynesian languages.

Religion


Christianity is the main religion of the islands, a majority (54%) belonging to various Protestant churches and a large minority (30%) being Roman Catholic. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had 20,282 members as of 2009.
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 -according to the 2009 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses- had 2,248 publishers in Tahiti as of 2009.

Transportation



While most major roads are paved and well-maintained, many secondary roads are not. Traffic is brisk and all types of vehicles and pedestrians jockey for space on narrow streets. Crosswalks are marked and the law requires that motor vehicles stop for pedestrians; however, this is not always done. Tourists should exercise caution when driving, particularly at night.

There are 51 airports in French Polynesia, 39 are paved. The Faaa International Airport is the only international airport in French Polynesia. Each island has its own airport that serves flights to other islands. Air Tahiti
Air Tahiti
Société Air Tahiti Société Anonyme is a regional airline with its head office on the property of Faa'a International Airport, in Faaa, Tahiti, French Polynesia, near Papeete. Air Tahiti's network covers 46 islands within French Polynesia, plus the island of Rarotonga...

 is the main airline that flies around the islands.

Notable people

  • Jacques Brel
    Jacques Brel
    Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in France initially, and later throughout the world. He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson...

     (1929–1978), Belgian musician, lived in French Polynesia near the end of his life
  • Jean Gabilou
    Jean Gabilou
    Jean Gabilou is a Tahitian singer. He also represented France in the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest.-Early life:...

    , singer (born 1944), represented France in the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest
  • Paul Gauguin
    Paul Gauguin
    Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist. He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer...

     (1848–1903), French impressionist painter, spent the last years of his life in French Polynesia
  • Maréva Georges, model, former Miss Tahiti 1990 and Miss France 1991
  • Pouvāna'a 'Ō'opa
    Pouvanaa a Oopa
    Pouvanaa a Oopa was a French Polynesia politician and Tahitian nationalist, who led a Tahitian separatist movement against French rule, before being exiled to France in the late 1950s....

     (1895–1977), Politician and Tahitian nationalist
  • Henri Hiro (1944–1991), Film director and script writer, poet, ecologist, activist
  • Ella Koon
    Ella Koon
    Ella Koon Yun Na is Hong Kong-based Cantopop singer, actress and model. She is French by citizenship.-Biography:Ella Koon was born in the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, of Cantonese descent. She was raised in Hong Kong and attended high school in Birmingham, England...

    , model (born 1979)
  • Marco Namouro, writer (1889–1968)
  • Fabrice Santoro
    Fabrice Santoro
    Fabrice Vetea Santoro is a retired French professional male tennis player from Tahiti. Though not counted among the top ranked players, he had an unusually long professional career – with many of his accomplishments coming toward the end of his career – and he is popular among spectators and other...

    , tennis professional (born 1972)
  • Marama Vahirua
    Marama Vahirua
    Marama Vahirua is a French footballer who plays for Monaco, on loan from Nancy, as a forward.-Career:Vahirua started his career at the famed youth academy of Nantes. He then went to Nice in August 2004, where he enjoyed two spectacular seasons, being reconverted to attacking midfielder in the...

    , footballer, cousin of Pascal Vahirua (born 1980)
  • Pascal Vahirua
    Pascal Vahirua
    Pascal Vahirua is a retired French footballer of Tahitian descent, who played mostly as a left winger.His career was intimately connected with AJ Auxerre...

    , former French international footballer (born 1966)
  • Célestine Hitiura Vaite
    Célestine Hitiura Vaite
    Célestine Hitiura Vaite is a Tahitian writer. The daughter of a Tahitian mother and French father, Vaite grew up in the commune of Faaa on the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia. In her youth, Vaite grew up immersed in traditional storytelling...

    , writer (born 1966)

Music



French Polynesia came to the forefront of the world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

 scene in 1992, with the release of The Tahitian Choir
The Tahitian Choir
The Tahitian Choir is a choral group from the island known as Rapa Iti, one of the Bass Islands in the South Pacific, approximately 1,000 miles southeast of Tahiti. The choir is made up of 126 men and women...

's recordings of unaccompanied vocal Christian music called himene tārava
Himene tarava
Himene tarava is a style of traditional Tahitian music, sung a cappella in a highly rhythmic style by polyphonic choirs. The word tarava means to be spread out, to be gathered...

, recorded by French musicologist Pascal Nabet-Meyer. This form of singing is common in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

, and is distinguished by a unique drop in pitch at the end of the phrases, which is a characteristic formed by several different voices; it is also accompanied by steady grunting of staccato, nonsensical syllables.

See also


  • Colonial and Departmental Heads of French Polynesia
    Colonial and Departmental Heads of French Polynesia
    -List of Colonial and Departmental Heads of French Polynesia:-External links:*...

  • French colonial empire
    French colonial empire
    The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

  • List of French possessions and colonies


External links



Government
General information Encyclopédie collaborative du patrimoine culturel et naturel polynésien

Travel