These slides of housing and population were taken in Papeete, Tahiti in 1982. Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, a collection of islands in the south Pacific under the control of France, and is located on the island of Tahiti. The population of French Polynesia in 2012 was 268,270, of which about half lived in the urban area of Papeete (133,627). In 1982, the population was about 40% smaller.
The port and the main downtown area are very much like many French port cities – a main embarcadero as a divided boulevard, smaller boulevards that intersect the main one, and commercial streets laid out in a regular pattern. The buildings are built in a European style. But, about three or four streets in from the harbor, there is a canal that separates the commercial area from the residential neighborhoods. In the neighborhoods, the architecture is Polynesian, not French, with a mixture of building materials, a complex aesthetic, and lots of fruit-bearing trees. It appears as two different worlds – a colonial French downtown and a Polynesian population.
There was a lot of resentment then about the French nuclear bomb testing area in Moruroa, a set of islands about 780 miles southwest of Tahiti. These tests lasted from 1966-96.
The slides are organized into four sections:
1. There are 4 photographs of the approach to Tahiti and the coral reef.
2. There are 6 photographs of the embarcadero boulevard (Boulevard de la Reine Pomare IV).
3. There are 21 photographs of the downtown area and some of the buildlings.
4. There are 28 photographs of the residential areas.