French Polynesia

Nathan Weller


Mix of about 130 volcanic and coral islands

Made up of six island groups

- Marquesas Islands

- Society Islands

- Tuamotu Islands

- Gambier Islands

- Austral Islands

- Bass Islands


Humid subtropical climate with an average temperature of 79 degrees

Typhoons occasionally hit the islands in the months of January through March

Plants and Animals


- Shrub found in the South Pacific

Polynesian Chestnut

- Tree that is widely used by the native people

Polynesian Imperial Pigeon

- Endemic to French Polynesia

Ultramarine Lorikeet

- Endemic to French Polynesia

Natural Resources


- Attracts tourists

Timber & Cobalt

- Valuable exports


- Provides an alternate source of energy


People arrived from Southeast Asia over 3,000 years ago

Europeans first made contact with the islands in the 1500s

France claimed much of the area in the mid 1800s, united the islands in 1889, and made French Polynesia an overseas territory in 1946

People and Languages

Ethnic Groups

- Polynesian 78%

- Chinese 12%

- European (French) 10%


- French 61%

- Polynesian 32%

- Asian languages 1%

- Other 6%

Land Use

Forests/Pastures 38%

Agriculture 21%

Other 42%

Over 82% of the people who live on the island of Tahiti, live in the cities and suburbs

Pearls account for 68% of all exports


- Protestant 54%

- Roman Catholic 30%

(Introduced by Europeans)

- Other 16%


Public schools are fully financed by the government

Primary School

- 6 years

Secondary School

- 7 years


- Christianity has pushed out many native traditions

- Himene tarava is a common form of singing

- Tamure is the traditional dance


- Family is very important

- Christianity plays a major role in many lives

- French ways of living have greatly influenced the area


- Mix of South Pacific and European cooking styles

- Use of many fruits and seafood

- Restaurants have a wide background of cultures


- Controversy over nuclear testing

- Tourism's affect on the natural environment