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Taha’a (sometimes spelled as "Tahaa") is an island located among the western group, the Leeward Islands, of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The islands of Taha’a and neighboring Raiatea to the immediate south are enclosed by the same coral reef, and they may once have been a single island. At the 2017 census it had a population of 5,234.[1] The island has an area of 90 square kilometres (35 square miles), and reaches a maximum height of 590 metres (1,940 ft). It is also known as the "Vanilla Island" and produces pearls of exceptional quality.

Location of the commune (in red) within the Leeward Islands
Location of the commune (in red) within the Leeward Islands
Location of Taha’a
Coordinates: 16°37′00″S 151°30′00″W / 16.6167°S 151.5°W / -16.6167; -151.5Coordinates: 16°37′00″S 151°30′00″W / 16.6167°S 151.5°W / -16.6167; -151.5
Overseas collectivityFrench Polynesia
SubdivisionÎles Sous-le-Vent
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Céline Temataru
90.2 km2 (34.8 sq mi)
 • Density58/km2 (150/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−10:00
INSEE/Postal code
98745 /98733
Elevation0–590 m (0–1,936 ft)
Bora Bora, Tahaa, and Raiatea from space


Administratively, Taha’a and the surrounding islets emerging from the coral reef form a commune (municipality) part of the administrative subdivision of the Leeward Islands.[2] Tahaa consists of the following associated communes:[3]

The administrative centre of the commune of Tahaa is the settlement of Patio.[3]


Historical population


At the time of Captain Cook's visits in 1769 and 1773, the island was under the occupation of Bora Bora warriors.[4]

Vanilla productionEdit

Taha’a produces 70-80% of all French Polynesia's vanilla. Because of the pervasive aroma of vanilla, Taha’a is known as the "Vanilla Island". Taha’a's pearls are of exceptional quality.


Taha’a and its small islets can be reached by boat and outrigger from Raiatea. The short sail drops visitors on an islet beach with a small lagoon, and in the near distance, a view of Bora Bora. These parts of the Society Islands are less modernized.

Tahitian SpellingEdit

Taha’a is spelled in Tahitian using the apostrophe (in fact a variant of it, the okina, 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.[5] This apostrophe, however, is often omitted. In old travelogues, the transcription Oataha is sometimes used.


  1. ^ Répartition de la population en Polynésie française en 2017, Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française
  2. ^ Décret n° 2005-1611 du 20 décembre 2005 pris pour l'application du statut d'autonomie de la Polynésie française, Légifrance
  3. ^ a b Décret n°72-407 du 17 mai 1972 portant création de communes dans le territoire de la Polynésie française, Légifrance
  4. ^ Salmond, Anne (2010). Aphrodite's Island. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 213–218, 286–289. ISBN 9780520261143.
  5. ^ Graphie et graphies de la langue tahitienne