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Thursday 29th June
French Polynesia Information - Page 1
Geography
French Polynesia (Overseas Lands of France) is in the Pacific Ocean and consists of over a hundred islands and atolls.

French Polynesia is grouped into five archipelagoes: the Society Islands, the Austral Archipelago, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Marquesas Archipelago and the Gambier Archipelago.

Papeete, on Tahiti (Society Islands), is the capital. The majority of people in French Polynesia live on the islands of Tahiti and Moorea.

Many of the islands are of volcanic origin, others are coral atolls.

French Polynesia has a tropical climate.

Environment
The terrain of French Polynesia is a mixture of volcanic islands covered with vegetation and low-lying coral atolls.

Trees found in French Polynesia include coconut palms, pandanus palms and a variety of fruit trees. The national flower is the tiare, a gardenia, used to make traditional Polynesian garlands.

Birds on the islands include boobies, doves, flycatchers, terns and frigate birds.

A variety of reef fish live in the waters and coral reefs off the coast. Other inhabitants in the surrounding seas are dolphins, manta rays and turtles.

Architecture
Papeete, on Tahiti, is the seat of government and a commercial centre. Architectural styles include Modern, Colonial and Polynesian.

In 2000 the presidency of French Polynesia relocated to the former Broche military quarters in Papeete, one of French Polynesia's historic French Colonial buildings.

Population
The population of French Polynesia was estimated at 294,935 in 2011.

Languages
French and Polynesian are both official languages.

Religion
The majority of the people are Christians: Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Food
The cuisine of French Polynesia is influenced by its ethnic groups: Polynesian, Chinese and French.

Staple foods are cassava, taro, breadfruit and sweet potatoes. Rice is imported.

An earth oven is used for traditional cooking. Food cooked this way includes fish, pork and vegetables.

Fruits grown are bananas, coconuts, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, and citrus fruits. Vanilla is also grown and features in a number of recipes.

Kava, made from the roots of piper methysticum, is a traditional drink. Other drinks include local beer and coffee.

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