Papeete (pronounced [ʔe.te])[3] is the capital city of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune of Papeete is located on the island of Tahiti, in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands, of which Papeete is the administrative capital.[4] The French High Commissioner also resides in Papeete.[5] It is the primary center of Tahitian and French Polynesian public and private governmental, commercial, industrial and financial services, the hub of French Polynesian tourism and a commonly used port of call.[5] The Windward Islands are themselves part of the Society Islands.

The name Papeete, sometimes also spelled Pape’ete in Tahitian,[Note 1] means "water from a basket".[6] The urban area of Papeete had a total population of 136,771 inhabitants at the August 2017 census, 26,926 of whom lived in the commune of Papeete proper.[2]

Marina of Papeete and city center (the commercial port is not visible in this picture)
Marina of Papeete and city center
(the commercial port is not visible in this picture)
Location of the commune (in red) within the Windward Islands
Location of the commune (in red) within the Windward Islands
Location of Papeete
Coordinates: 17°32′06″S 149°34′11″W / 17.535°S 149.5696°WCoordinates: 17°32′06″S 149°34′11″W / 17.535°S 149.5696°W
Overseas collectivityFrench Polynesia
SubdivisionWindward Islands
 • Mayor (1995–present) Michel Buillard
Area17.4 km2 (6.7 sq mi)
 • Urban
299.5 km2 (115.6 sq mi)
(August 2017 census[2])1
 • Density1,500/km2 (4,000/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density460/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−10:00
INSEE/Postal code
98735 /98714
Elevation0–621 m (0–2,037 ft)
1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.


FRE-OCE-10-French Oceania-50 centimes (1943)
A 50 centimes World War II banknote (1943), printed in Papeete, depicting the outline of Tahiti (rev).

The commune of Papeete is subdivided into eleven quartiers (wards):[7][8][9]

  • Manu Hoe – Fare Ute – Motu Uta
  • Patutoa
  • Taunoa
  • Fari'ipiti
  • Titioro
  • Tepapa
  • Faiere
  • Pic Rouge
  • Tipaerui
  • Paofai
  • Mamao


Papeete Town Hall, Papeete, 2009
Papeete Town Hall, a replica of the Royal Palace of Papeete razed in the 1960s

At the outbreak of World War I Papeete was shelled by German vessels, causing loss of life and significant damage.

The growth of the city was boosted by the decision to move the nuclear weapon test range from Algeria to the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa, some 1,500 km (930 mi) to the east of Tahiti; this originated in particular in the construction of the Faa'a airport next to Pape'ete, the only international airport in French Polynesia. In 1983, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built the Papeete Tahiti Temple here because of the large number of members in the region. On 5 September 1995 the government of Jacques Chirac conducted the first of the last series of nuclear test detonations off the shores of Moruroa. A resulting riot in Papeete lasted for two days and damaged the international airport, injured 40 people, and scared away tourism for some time.[10][11] (Similar rioting occurred after another French nuclear test in the same area in 1987.)


There are very busy streets in the town center, and sometimes traffic can be a problem since the streets are very small. There is a freeway that starts close to the town center starting with Pomare Boulevard, named after the Tahitian Royal Family dynasty of the 19th century. By air, the people would use the Faaa International Airport. From there they could either take Air Tahiti to go to another island of the territory or take a plane like Air Tahiti Nui to go international. By sea, they would either take Moorea ferries to go to Moorea or the Bora Bora cruiseline to go to Bora Bora.


The urban area of Papeete had a total population of 136,771 inhabitants at the August 2017 census, 26,926 of whom lived in the commune of Papeete proper.[2] The urban area of Papeete is made up of seven communes. They are listed from northeast to southwest:

  • Mahina
  • Arue
  • Pirae
  • Papeete (historically the most populous commune in the urban area, and still the administrative capital)
  • Faaa (which became in 1988 the most populous commune in the urban area)
  • Punaauia
  • Paea

Historical population

1956 1962 1971 1977 1983 1988 1996 2002 2007 2012 2017
Papeete (commune) 18,089 19,903 25,342 22,967 23,496 23,555 25,553 26,222 26,017 25,769 26,926
Papeete (urban area) 28,975 35,514 65,185 77,781 93,294 103,857 115,759 127,327 131,695 133,627 136,771
Official figures from population censuses.[2][12][13][14][15]

Average population growth of the Papeete urban area:

  • 1956-1962: +1,107 people per year (+3.5% per year)
  • 1962-1971: +3,597 people per year (+7.6% per year)
  • 1971-1977: +2,025 people per year (+2.9% per year)
  • 1977-1983: +2,400 people per year (+2.9% per year)
  • 1983-1988: +2,158 people per year (+2.2% per year)
  • 1988-1996: +1,489 people per year (+1.4% per year)
  • 1996-2002: +1,873 people per year (+1.6% per year)
  • 2002-2007: +913 people per year (+0.7% per year)
    Papeete waterfront
  • 2007-2012: +386 people per year (+0.3% per year)
  • 2012-2017: +631 people per year (+0.5% per year)
Papeete waterfront


The places of birth of the 131,695 residents in the Papeete urban area at the 2007 census were the following:[16]


At the 2007 census, 98.2% of the population in the urban area of Papeete whose age was 15 years and older reported that they could speak French. 96.5% reported that they could also read and write it. Only 1.2% of the population whose age was 15 years and older had no knowledge of French.[17]

At the same census, 79.7% of the population in the urban area of Papeete whose age was 15 years and older reported that the language they spoke the most at home was French. 16.5% reported that Tahitian was the language they spoke the most at home. 1.7% reported another Polynesian language, 1.6% reported a Chinese dialect (half of whom speak Hakka), and 0.5% reported another language.[17]

19.5% of the population in the urban area of Papeete whose age was 15 years and older reported that they had no knowledge of any Polynesian language at the 2007 census, whereas 80.5% reported that they had some form of knowledge of at least one Polynesian language.[17]

Travel and tourism

Traveling tourists arrive and depart Papeete via cruise ship at Papeete Harbor or domestic airline at Faa'a International Airport, which was completed and opened in 1962.


Papeete features a tropical monsoon climate with a wet season and dry season. However, precipitation is observed even during the city's dry season. The dry season is short, covering only the months of August and September. The rest of the year is wet, with the heaviest precipitation falling in the months of December and January. Temperatures are relatively constant throughout the course of the year, averaging around 25 °C (77 °F).

Main sights

In popular culture


Immeuble Dexter - Pont de L’Est - Papeete - Tahiti - Polynésie française
Immeuble Dexter, the head office of Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui has its head office in the Immeuble Dexter in Papeete.[21]


The Lycée Paul-Gauguin is located in the city.





Paofai Temple

Notes and references


  1. ^ The use of the apostrophe, in fact a variant of it hard to differentiate from the regular apostrophe when using small fonts, to represent the glottal stop, as promoted by the Académie Tahitienne and accepted by the territorial government (see [1] ). The apostrophe, however, is often omitted. Archived June 26, 2006, at the Wayback Machine


  1. ^ "R1- Population sans doubles comptes, des subdivisions, communes et communes associées de Polynésie française, de 1971 à 1996". ISPF. Archived from the original on 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  2. ^ a b c d "Populations légales de Polynésie française en 2017". INSEE. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Décret n° 2005-1611 du 20 décembre 2005 pris pour l'application du statut d'autonomie de la Polynésie française, Légifrance
  5. ^ a b Kay, p. 106
  6. ^ Kay, p. 102.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ Arue – 12A Arahiri/Rimapp Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ ''New York Times'' coverage of Atomic tests resumption in Tahiti. New York Times (1995-10-08). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  11. ^ ''New York Times'' coverage of riot at Tahiti's international airport. New York Times (1995-09-07). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  12. ^ "Population des communes de Polynésie française". INSEE. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  13. ^ Jean Fages (1975). "Punaauia-Paea - contact ville-campagne et croissance urbaine de la côte ouest de Tahiti" (PDF). ORSTOM. p. 21. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  14. ^ "Population statistique des communes et communes associées aux recensements de 1971 à 2002". ISPF. Archived from the original on 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  15. ^ "Population des communes de Polynésie française au RP 2007". INSEE. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  16. ^ "Recensements de la population → 2007 → Données détaillées → Migrations". ISPF. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  17. ^ a b c "Recensements de la population → 2007 → Données détaillées → Langues". ISPF. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  18. ^ "Papeete 1981-2010 Averages". Meteo France. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Papeete Sun Normals 1961-1990". NOAA. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  20. ^ Gibbs, Jim (1968). West Coast Windjammers in Story and Pictures. Seattle: Superior Publishing Co. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-517-17060-1.
  21. ^ ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2012-11-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)." Air Tahiti Nui. Retrieved on 7 November 2012. "Tahiti – Siège social Immeuble Dexter – Pont de L’Est – Papeete BP 1673 – 98713 Papeete – Tahiti."


  • Kay, Robert F. Hidden Tahiti. Berkeley, California: Ulysses Press, 2001. ISBN 1-56975-222-2.

See also

External links

Papeete travel guide from Wikivoyage Media related to Papeete at Wikimedia Commons

2000 OFC Nations Cup

The 2000 OFC Nations Cup was held in Papeete, Tahiti. The six participating teams were Australia and New Zealand who qualified as of right, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu who qualified from the Melanesia Cup, the Cook Islands and Tahiti who qualified from the Polynesia Cup. Australia beat New Zealand 2-0 in the final. The Solomon Islands beat Vanuatu 2-1 for third place.

Fiji qualified to this edition but then withdrew due to the 2000 Fijian coup d'état and was replaced by Vanuatu.

2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

The 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was the seventh edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, governed by FIFA. It took place from 18–28 September 2013 at Tahua To'ata Stadium (Stade Tahua To'ata) in Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia and was the fourth tournament to have taken place outside Brazil. Overall this was the 17th edition of the World Cup since its establishment in 1995 (series before 2005 were not governed by FIFA and were held under the title Beach Soccer World Championships). This was the second tournament to take place since the establishment of a longer two-year cycle of tournaments. This was the first FIFA tournament held in a Pacific country other than New Zealand.

The tournament was confirmed in March 2010. Russia successfully defended their title.

A.S. Dragon (Tahiti)

Association Sportive Dragon is a football club based in Papeete, Tahiti. They play in the Tahiti First Division, who play their home games at Stade Pater, in Pirae.The club was founded in 1968 by Arthur Chung to represent French Polynesia's Chinese community. Over time the team has evolved to include a diverse mix of cultures, and mostly consists of semi-professional players with day jobs. In the 2011–12 season they won the championship for the first time and qualified for the 2012–13 OFC Champions League.

Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui is a French airline with its head office in Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia, France. It operates long-haul flights from its home base at Fa'a'ā International Airport.

Bombardment of Papeete

The Bombardment of Papeete occurred in French Polynesia when German warships attacked on 22 September 1914, during World War I. The German armoured cruisers SMS Scharnhorst and Gneisenau entered the port of Papeete on the island of Tahiti and sank the French gunboat Zélée and freighter Walküre before bombarding the town's fortifications. French shore batteries and a gunboat resisted the German intrusion, but were greatly outgunned. The main German objective was to seize the coal piles stored on the island, but these were destroyed by the French at the start of the action.

The German vessels were largely undamaged but the French lost their gunboat. Several of Papeete's buildings were destroyed and the town's economy was severely disrupted. The main strategic consequence of the engagement was the disclosure of the cruisers' positions to the British Admiralty, which led to the Battle of Coronel where the entire German East Asia Squadron defeated a Royal Navy squadron. The depletion of Scharnhorst's and Gneisenau's ammunition at Papeete also contributed to their subsequent destruction at the Battle of the Falklands.

Conrad Hall

Conrad "Connie" Lafcadio Hall, ASC (June 21, 1926 – January 4, 2003) was an American cinematographer from Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. Named after writers Joseph Conrad and Lafcadio Hearn, he was best known for photographing such films as In Cold Blood, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty, and Road to Perdition. For his work he garnered a number of awards, including three Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards.

In 2003, Hall was judged to be one of history's ten most influential cinematographers in a survey of the members of the International Cinematographers Guild.He has been given a star in Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame.

Faa'a International Airport

Fa'a'ā International Airport (French: Aéroport international de Tahiti Fa'a'ā), also known as Tahiti International Airport (IATA: PPT, ICAO: NTAA), is the international airport of French Polynesia, located in the commune of Fa'a'ā, on the island of Tahiti. It is situated 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of Papeete, the capital city of the overseas collectivity. It opened in 1960. Regional air carrier Air Tahiti and international air carrier Air Tahiti Nui are both based at the airport.

French Polynesia

French Polynesia ( (listen); French: Polynésie française [pɔlinezi fʁɑ̃sɛːz]; Tahitian: Pōrīnetia Farāni) is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic and the only overseas country of France. It is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. Its total land area is 4,167 square kilometres (1,609 sq mi).

French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands: the Society Islands archipelago, composed of the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands; the Tuamotu Archipelago; the Gambier Islands; the Marquesas Islands; and the Austral Islands. Among its 118 islands and atolls, 67 are inhabited. Tahiti, which is located within the Society Islands, is the most populous island, having close to 69% of the population of French Polynesia as of 2017. Papeete, located on Tahiti, is the capital. Although not an integral part of its territory, Clipperton Island was administered from French Polynesia until 2007.

Following the Great Polynesian Migration, European explorers visited the islands of French Polynesia on several occasions. Traders and whaling ships also visited. In 1842, the French took over the islands and established a French protectorate they called Etablissements des français en Océanie (EFO) (French Establishments/Settlements in Oceania).

In 1946, the EFOs became an overseas territory under the constitution of the French Fourth Republic, and Polynesians were granted the right to vote through citizenship. In 1957, the EFOs were renamed French Polynesia. In 1983 French Polynesia became a member of the Pacific Community, a regional development organization. Since 28 March 2003, French Polynesia has been an overseas collectivity of the French Republic under the constitutional revision of article 74, and later gained, with law 2004-192 of 27 February 2004, an administrative autonomy, two symbolic manifestations of which are the title of the President of French Polynesia and its additional designation as an overseas country.

French Polynesia's 1st constituency

The 1st constituency of French Polynesia is a French legislative constituency in French Polynesia.

Following the 2010 redistricting of French legislative constituencies, which came into application for the June 2012 legislative election, the boundaries of French Polynesia's two constituencies were redrawn so as to create a third constituency in the collectivity. Since then, the 1st constituency consists of the communes of Anaa, Arue, Arutua, Fakarava, Fangatau, Fatu-Hiva, Gambier, Hao, Hikueru, Hiva-Oa, Makemo, Manihi, Moorea-Maiao, Napuka, Nuku-Hiva, Nukutavake, Papeete, Pirae, Pukapuka, Rangiroa, Reao, Tahuata, Takaroa, Tatakoto, Tureia, Ua-Huka, and Ua-Pou.


Hōkūleʻa is a performance-accurate waʻa kaulua, a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe. Launched on 8 March 1975 by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, she is best known for her 1976 Hawaiʻi to Tahiti voyage completed with exclusively Polynesian navigation techniques The primary goal of the voyage was to explore the anthropological theory of the Asiatic origin of native Oceanic people (Oceania maps: detail, region), of Polynesians and Hawaiians in particular, as the result of purposeful trips through the Pacific, as opposed to passive drifting on currents, or sailing from the Americas. (DNA analysis illuminates this theory.) A secondary project goal was to have the canoe and voyage "serve as vehicles for the cultural revitalization of Hawaiians and other Polynesians".Between the 1976 voyage and 2009, Hōkūle‘a completed nine additional voyages to Micronesia, Polynesia, Japan, Canada and the mainland United States, all using ancient wayfinding techniques of celestial navigation. On 19 January 2007, Hōkūle‘a left Hawaiʻi with the voyaging canoe Alingano Maisu on a voyage through Micronesia (map) and ports in southern Japan. The voyage was expected to take five months. On 9 June 2007, Hōkūle‘a completed the "One Ocean, One People" voyage to Yokohama, Japan. On April 5, 2009, Hōkūle‘a returned to Honolulu following a roundtrip training sail to Palmyra Atoll, undertaken to develop skills of potential crewmembers for Hōkūle‘a's eventual circumnavigation of the earth.On May 18, 2014, Hōkūle‘a and her sister vessel, Hikianalia embarked from Oahu for "Malama Honua", a three-year circumnavigation of the earth. She returned to port in Hawaii on June 17, 2017. The journey covered 47,000 nautical miles with stops at 85 ports in 26 countries.In between voyages, Hōkūle‘a is moored at the Marine Education Training Center (METC) of Honolulu Community College in Honolulu Harbor.

Jocelyne LaGarde

Jocelyne LaGarde (1924 – 12 September 1979) was a Native Tahitian woman who became famous for her first and only acting role in the 1966 motion picture, Hawaii, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

List of Polynesian Championships in Athletics records

The Polynesian Championships in athletics records are the best marks set by athletes who are representing one of the member states of the Polynesian Championships Council during the correspondent athletics event which began in 2000.

Mataveri International Airport

Mataveri International Airport or Isla de Pascua Airport (IATA: IPC, ICAO: SCIP) is located at Hanga Roa on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) (Isla de Pascua in Spanish). The most remote airport in the world, Mataveri International Airport is 2,336 miles (3,759 km) from Santiago, Chile (SCL) which has scheduled flights to it on the Chilean carrier LATAM Chile. The runway starts just inland from the island's southeast coast at Mataveri and nearly reaches the west coast, almost separating the mountain of Rano Kau from the rest of the island. The airport is the main point of entry for thousands of tourists who come to Easter Island to see its Moai statues. The airport also has a transit lounge used by passengers who are continuing onwards to or returning from Papeete, Tahiti, which is also serviced by LATAM Airlines.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Papeete

Notre Dame Cathedral (French: Cathédrale de Papeete Notre-Dame de L'Immaculée Conception) is a late 19th-century church that serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete. It is located close to the waterfront esplanade of the capital city on the rue du Général de Gaulle.

The construction of the cathedral began in the middle of the 19th century and it opened in 1875. It is the oldest Catholic church in Tahiti and one of Papeete's last remaining examples of early colonial architecture.

Papeete Tahiti Temple

The Pape'ete Tahiti Temple is the 27th constructed and 25th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Located in the city of Pape'ete on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia, it was built with a modern single-spire design.

The Pape'ete Tahiti Temple was announced on April 2, 1980, then dedicated on October 27, 1983 by Gordon B. Hinckley. The temple was built on a 5-acre (20,000 m2) plot, has 2 ordinance rooms and 2 sealing rooms, and has a total floor area of 9,936 square feet (923.1 m2).

The temple underwent renovation and was rededicated on November 12, 2006 by apostle L. Tom Perry.


Pirae is a commune in the suburbs of Papeete in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. Pirae is located on the island of Tahiti, in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands, themselves part of the Society Islands. It borders Papeete in the west and Arue in the east. At the 2017 census it had a population of 14,209. The Stade Pater Te Hono Nui is a stadium located in the commune.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete (Latin: Archidioecesis Papeetensis; French: Archidiocèse de Papeete) is a Metropolitan Archdiocese in French Polynesia. It is responsible for the suffragan diocese of Taiohae o Tefenuaenata.


Tahiti (; French pronunciation: ​[ta.iti]; previously also known as Otaheite (obsolete) is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia. The island is located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the central Southern Pacific Ocean, and is divided into two parts: the bigger, northwestern part, Tahiti Nui, and the smaller, southeastern part, Tahiti Iti. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. The population is 189,517 inhabitants (2017 census), making it the most populous island of French Polynesia and accounting for 68.7% of its total population.

Tahiti is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity (sometimes referred to as an overseas country) of France. The capital of French Polynesia, Papeete, is located on the northwest coast of Tahiti. The only international airport in the region, Fa'a'ā International Airport, is on Tahiti near Papeete.

Tahiti was originally settled by Polynesians between 300 and 800 AD. They represent about 70% of the island's population, with the rest made up of Europeans, Chinese people, and those of mixed heritage.

The island was part of the Kingdom of Tahiti until its annexation by France in 1880, when it was proclaimed a colony of France, and the inhabitants became French citizens. French is the only official language, although the Tahitian language (Reo Tahiti) is widely spoken.

Tahiti Ligue 1

The Tahitian Ligue 1 is the top division of the Fédération Tahitienne de Football in French Polynesia. The league is currently named Ligue 1 Vini for sponsorship reasons.

Climate data for Papeete FAAA (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34.1
Average high °C (°F) 31.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.6
Average low °C (°F) 24.2
Record low °C (°F) 19.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 253.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 215.5 199.2 226.0 230.3 228.6 220.0 235.2 251.1 241.6 232.1 208.7 196.6 2,684.9
Source #1: Meteo France[18]
Source #2: NOAA (Sun 1961-1990)[19]
Capitals of Oceania

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