French Polynesia is known for the skills of its craftsmen and women. From basket-weaving to jewelry, from tifaifai quilts to garlands of flowers, Polynesian craftsmanship is the outward expression of a rich culture and skills that have been passed down from generation to generation. Discover the artsitic treasures of The Islands of Tahiti and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Polynesian culture.

Treasures of The Islands of Tahiti

Ancestral knowledge

Sculpture et gravure dans le bois à Nuku Hiva © Grégoire Le Bacon

Sculpture and engraving

The craftsmen of the Marquesas Islands are reputed for their expertise in sculpting animal bone, wood and volcanic stone, especially the famous flower stone of Ua Pou. Their talent is reflected in their unique, expressive creations that capture the very essence of Polynesian culture.

In Fatu Hiva, the skill of making tapa is perfected. It is a cloth made from the bark of a paper mulberry tree, beaten for hours until a fine and delicate texture has been achieved.

Une mama tresse un panier en pae ore © Grégoire Le Bacon

Weaving in the Austral Islands

Weaving is an ancestral art in the Austral Islands in the south of French Polynesia and is a skill that exemplifies the region’s rich culture. The inhabitants of the Austral Islands are masters of the art of weaving dried pandanus leaves, which they use to make everyday objects as well as unique decorative items.

The handwoven baskets, mats, and hats, reflect the customs and symbols of each island. It is an art that has been transmitted from generation to generation in the Austral Islands and embodies the simple beauty and preserved traditions of Polynesian culture.

Massage à base d'huile de mono'i © Grégoire Le Bacon

The preparation of mono’i oil

The preparation of mono’i oil is a veritable art. Admired the world over for its addictive perfume and natural virtues, mono’i is the emblematic product of French Polynesia. This perfumed coconut oil is used for massages, to hydrate the skin and as a hair care treatment.

The fabrication of mono’i is a traditional process that demands patience and expertise. Visitors can take part in the preparation of mono’i and discover all the secrets of this precious oil.

La statue du dieu A'a, originaire de l'île de Rurutu, fut offert aux missionnaires de la London Missionary Society pour marquer la conversion de la population au christianisme © Tahiti Tourisme

Mystical status

Polynesian Tiki

These small statues are called ti’i in Tahitian, and are the representations of demigods. They are sacred ornaments in Polynesian culture. The sculptures range in size and are found on the marae and other archeological sites throughout French Polynesia. Among other significations, they are symbols of protection, and are popular tourist souvenirs that represent Polynesian culture.


Vacation packages

Immerse yourself into the tahitian culture

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Discover our holiday offers to experience Tahitian culture and explore the natural beauty of French Polynesia. Immerse yourself in the vibrant traditions, heavenly landscapes and warm hospitality of this unique destination. Book now to take advantage of the most attractive offers.


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Not to be missed

Making a flowercrown

Making a flowercrown is a very popular tourist experience in The Islands of Tahiti. Garlands of flowers are offered as a welcome to visitors when they arrive at Tahiti airport, and are worn by Polynesian men and women on all important and festive occasions. Flowercrowns are also worn by both men and women, especially for traditional festivals and events, marriages and other celebrations. They are symbols of hospitality and the beauty of Polynesian culture. As a parting gift, visitors are given a garland of seashells, which are a symbol of protection, and the love and respect felt for those who leave.

Couronne de fleur de tête © Lei Tao
Couronne de fleur de Huahine © Grégoire Le Bacon

You’ll also enjoy

Tahitian black pearls

One of the most valuable treasures of The Islands of Tahiti is the Tahitian black pearl. These exceptional jewels are symbolic and credited with numerous virtues: fertility, beauty, protection, loyalty and purity of spirit. You can find them as pieces of jewelry, on objects of decoration and on clothing. The pearl farms of the Gambier Islands are reputed for their expertise in the cultivation of the pearl oysters which give birth to these precious pearls. You can visit one or several of the farms to learn all the secrets of the Tahitian black pearl, and leave with the perfect souvenir of The Islands of Tahiti.

Nacre ouverte avec perle de Taha'a © Tahiti Tourisme
Perle noire de Taha'a ©_Tahiti Tourisme / Grégoire LE BACON

Be inspired


French Polynesia has a wealth of ancestral arts and crafts. During your voyage, you will discover many of these products, including tifaifai quilts, woven nī’au objects, jewelry and other treasures. If you want to learn more about the ancestral culture of The Islands of Tahiti, read our articles dedicated to the cultural heritage of Tahiti, culture in Huahine, the cultural traditions of the Gambier Islands, etc.


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