|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2011)|
|Overseas collectivity||French Polynesia|
|• Mayor||Oscar Temaru
1983 – present
|• Land||34.2 km2 (13.2 sq mi)|
|Population (August 2007 census)|
|• Population1 Density||870/km2 (2,300/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||98715 / 98704|
|Elevation||0–1,493 m (0–4,898 ft)
(avg. 7 m or 23 ft)
|1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.|
Faaa is a commune in the suburbs of Papeete in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. Faaa is located on the island of Tahiti, in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands, themselves part of the Society Islands. Faaa has a population of 29,851, making it the largest commune in Tahiti and French Polynesia. Faaa has many mountains inland that can reach 5,000 ft (1,500 m). Mount Orohena is an extinct volcano in the inland limits and can be seen from nearby Moorea. Big swells form in nearby Teahupoo and the ASP World Tour holds a surf contest there every year. The area of Faaa is 30 ft (9.1 m) above mean sea level on average.
- 1 Demographics
- 2 Politics
- 3 Transportation
- 4 Location and geography
- 5 Climate
- 6 Education
- 7 History of Faaa
- 8 Parks and recreation
- 9 Economy
- 10 Sports
- 11 Name
- 12 Music of Faaa
- 13 Art
- 14 See also
- 15 References
In 1988 Faaa supplanted Papeete as the most populated commune in the urban area of Papeete and in French Polynesia. Despite having more inhabitants than Papeete, the urban area is named after Papeete and Faaa is considered a suburb of Papeete due to Papeete's historical importance and status as administrative capital of French Polynesia. The Papeete Urban Area has a population of about 130,000.
Faaa is the political stronghold of independence leader Oscar Temaru, who served three times as president of French Polynesia in 2004, 2005–2006, and 2007.
Faa'a International Airport is a major airport located inside the commune, approximately 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest from the town center of Papeete. The airport is the only international airport in French Polynesia and is located in northern Faaa. Islanders from other islands come to this airport to make an international flight. Some of the international flights from the airport go to Los Angeles, California; Tokyo, Japan; and Auckland, New Zealand. There is easy access from downtown Faaa to the airport. Some airport shuttles and Tahiti buses come to the parking lot. The airport has coconut trees and one Tiki in the parking lot. Many flowers are picked at farms and they are sent to the airport and given to visitors that have just arrived.
Ferries leave the Papeete Wharf about 4 times a day to the Vaiare Wharf on nearby Moorea. There are 3 main ferries that leave the Papeete Wharf daily. One of them is the Aremiti 5 which is the fastest of the 3 ferries. It sails to Moorea in half an hour. The Aremiti 7 is the largest of the three ships. It sails to Moorea in about 40 minutes. The Moorea Ferry is the slowest of the three ships. It sails to Moorea in about an hour. Both of the Aremiti ferries are white with red dots. The Moorea ferry is blue on the bottom and white on the top. Some go to Bora Bora about once a week. The ferries can be seen from the Public Beach in Downtown Faaa taking off to Moorea.
Freeways and roads
Tahiti's West Coast freeway runs through the commune. The freeway starts in Papeete and ends in Teahupoo. There are many other roads in Faaa. The Tahiti transportation bus runs around the Papeete area. There isn't much traffic in the streets of Faaa. There are many bridges since there are many canals and small rivers flowing through Faaa. Most of the residents of Faaa have Ford or Toyota trucks. They get all their cars in the town center of Papeete. There are only some cars for sale places in Faaa. Residents that have their cars for sale usually have their cars parked on the street with a sign saying that the car is for sale and include the price and a contact number. Most of the streets are paved.
Location and geography
Faaa is located in northwestern Tahiti. Just 4 miles south of the town center of Papeete, the runway for Faa'a International Airport is built on coral reef since there is limited flat land. There is a slight bay south of the airport where the roads and freeways move inland. Downtown Faaa is about 20 ft (6.1 m) above mean sea level. Faaa is in northwestern French Polynesia. The Papenoo River is not too far away. Faaa comes inland about 10 mi (16 km). Mount Orohena is in the mountains of Faaa. The mountain is the highest point in French Polynesia at 7,300 ft (2,200 m). Tahiti Iti is just to the southeast of the commune. Moorea, which is Tahiti's sister island, is located just 15 km (9.3 mi) across the Pacific Ocean. Many people can see Mount Tohivea which is the tallest mountain on Moorea at nearly 4,000 ft (1,200 m). Los Angeles, California is located 4,111 mi (6,616 km) northwest, Santiago, Chile is 2,100 mi (3,400 km) east, and Sydney, Australia is located 2,000 mi (3,200 km) west. Easter Island is not too far east of Faaa. There are some viewpoints in Faaa to see Moorea. Moorea appears as a gray mound with mountains across the Pacific Ocean. The Faaa Nature Park is a major park in the mountains. New Caledonia is located not too far to the west of Faaa.
Moorea-Maiao on Moorea is located just across the Pacific Ocean 15 km (9.3 mi) away. Vaitape, Bora Bora is 218 km (135 mi) away and is the largest commune of Bora Bora. Uturoa is a closer commune on Raiatea. Papeete borders Faaa on the north and Papera borders Faaa on the south.
Many public beaches are found throughout coastal Faaa. Coconuts fall on the beach and float on the water. Beaches get visited a lot because of the warm climate and scenery.
Faaa experiences a tropical climate. The temperatures in Faaa during the summer can range from 50 to 100 °F (10 to 38 °C). The temperatures in Faaa during fall can range from 60 to 80 °F (16 to 27 °C). Winter can be 40 to 70 °F (4 to 21 °C) and spring can range from 60 to 70 °F (16 to 21 °C). The hottest temperature ever recorded was 108 °F (42 °C) during the late summer of 1997. The average temperature of Faaa is 74 °F (23 °C). The coldest temperature recorded was 30 °F (−1 °C) during the midwinter of 2003. Sometimes only a dust of snow brushes the mountains of Faaa. Cyclones have struck Faaa, about 10 times, causing major damage to the neighborhoods low and flat. Houses have flipped over and some flooding took place in downtown Faaa. The surges were about 29 ft (8.8 m) tall.
The University of French Polynesia is located in central Faaa. Students from many other islands come to this University since it is the only one in the territory. It is a relatively small university with around 2,000 students. There are elementary, middle and high schools located inland in the neighborhoods. Most of the schools are in separate buildings, each of them being one class. There are about 5 classes per grade at elementary schools. Some families have their kids go to school in other countries like the United States or New Zealand. If they were to have their students go to California to educate, they would usually go to the University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles. The main subject at the schools in Faaa is math.
History of Faaa
The area of Faaa was first settled by travelers from Asia that arrived on canoes at the year of 700. At that time, the settlers from Asia had made small houses from grass and wood. Faaa had only 400 residents. They fished from the beach and from their canoes. The settlers made spears from the charcoal on the beach. Pretty soon, many more settlers came from Asia making the population to grow to 700 by the year 1220. Some of the people feed on breadfruit and bananas from banana trees. The settlers kept walking inland from the beach. They looked across the ocean and saw Moorea which has also been settled. Some of the settlers on Tahiti paddled on their canoes and visited Moorea. By 1300, Faaa had about 1,000 residents. Faaa had many grass houses along the beach which some were so close to each other. Some of the residents left open spaces to let their kids play. Some of the early Tahitians made small fires from leaves to stay warm during winter. 1,300 residents have settled in Faaa during the 1330s. Most of the settlers moved their houses inland from the coastal beaches since they were flooded during cyclones and high tides. The Tahitians had moved into the small valleys close to Mount Orohena. Many of the early Polynesians had canoed to Moorea and back a bunch of times. They had been careful of the many stonefish in the water.
European settlers came during the 1500s. Captain James Cook was the first European settler. He first came to Moorea but then sailed to Tahiti. The Tahitians were all wondering who he was and why he was here. Then he left Tahiti and went exploring other islands in the Pacific Ocean. He later reached New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia. Then Charles Darwin came on his expedition to Tahiti. During the late 1800s, Faaa had a population of 2,000 residents. Some of the residents went to California to go to the California Gold Rush to search for a new life. Faaa was part of the Kingdom of Tahiti until the annexation of 1880. Many buildings made from wood were along the coast of Faaa. Some small markets selling bananas and other fruits were busy. Residents from Moorea came to get fruits from the markets. Farms could be found in the mountains of Faaa.
During the early 1900s, Faaa's population had grown to 5,000. Many markets had more choices and even some toys for kids. Some bigger boats were made for the new Faaa Port. The boats sailed from Faaa onward to other communes on Tahiti such as Arue and Teahupoo. Downtown Faaa was very busy and public beaches were formed on the waterfront of Faaa. There was a big field in the north of Faaa and Faa'a International Airport was built here in 1962. One of the first airplanes was Air Tahiti, which first went to other islands in French Polynesia. The international airlines such as Air Tahiti Nui were incorporated in the late 1990s. The Air Moorea flight also took place and crashed close to Moorea. None of them survived the disaster. Don the Beachcomber lived here part of his life. The Moorea ferry was also created after the flight and still sails to Moorea each day. Today, Faaa has a population of nearly 30,000.
- The area of Faaa is first settled by early Polynesians
- Faaa has many grass houses along the beach and inland
- Faaa's population grows to 1,500
- Captain James Cook is the first European to land on Tahiti
- Many Faaa residents leave for the California Gold Rush
- Faaa has more than 5,000 residents
- Faa'a International Airport opened
- Air Tahiti Nui is founded
- Air Moorea crashes while going to Moorea
Parks and recreation
There is one long coastal beach park with 5 playgrounds per mile and concrete spaces where Tahitian dancers dance. Coconut trees dot the coastline and can be up to 40 feet tall. There are many more parks in the neighborhoods of Faaa. The usual park in Faaa has a playground, open grass spaces, and trees and only a few have Basketball courts. School parks have mainly open grass spaces and a few trees. There are about 170 parks in Faaa. Hiking trails can be found in the mountains of Tahiti. It is part of the Faaa Nature Park. There are viewing points viewing the Papeete Area. The harbor can also be seen with the Aremiti Ferry coming in and out of the harbor. Mape trees grow in the park. The hiking trails are made of dirt and are 4 ft (1.2 m) wide. Sometimes the Mape tree roots grow on the trail making the trails dangerous at some points. Many birds fly over the trails and some rivers run through the park. Birdwatching is very popular among the tourists. There is a visitor center which nearby starts the main hiking trail. Moorea can be seen across the Pacific Ocean from some of the viewing points. Souvenir shops are mainly found in the parks of the mountains. Postcards are very popular for the tourist coming to Faaa. Other souvenirs at the shop are towels, small tikis, and Tahitian card games. There are also hiking trails in nearby communes of Tahiti and Moorea.
Air Tahiti has its head office on the airport property in Faaa. There are many supermarkets in Faaa. The supermarkets mainly sell bread, milk, fruits, and ice cream. There is also one of the largest malls in French Polynesia in downtown Faaa. It has a clothing store a market, and a souvenir shop. The now defunct Air Moorea had its head office in Faaa. Many people that work in other communes such as Papeete or Teahupoo live in Faaa. There are businesses like McDonald's that are close to the public beach. The port of Papeete has many workers that live in Faaa. Many other people that work in Papeete or Teahupoo live in Faaa. McDonald's is a popular restaurant in Faaa that is close to the beach, just off Tahiti's west coast freeway. The port of Papeete has many workers that live in Faaa. There is a Carrefour market in the commune.
Farms in Faaa are usually found in the mountains to the east. The farms are all more than 1,000 feet above mean sea level far from the coastline. The farms in the mountains have Tahitian flowers growing in the fields. The flowers get picked and are usually sent to Faa'a International Airport to greet the passengers that have just arrived. There are many tractors on the fields that plow the dirt. Banana trees are plentiful throughout Faaa and also a major export to other islands. The main islands that get imported from Faaa are Moorea, Huahine, and Raiatea. Many strawberries are also found in the farms. Potatoes, apples, and raspberries are all other major fruits grown at the farms of Faaa. School lunches usually contain fruits from these farms. The Moorea juice factory is a major juice factory on Moorea that exports its juice to Faaa.
Ace is a major hardware store in Faaa. It is made up of more than one building. There are 3 of these buildings.One of the buildings is for supplies and objects needed in houses. Another one of the 3 buildings is for Wood supplies and Wood Glue. The third building is for cement mixers and screws. Other major hardware stores are the Faaa Supply Store. It is made up of one building for mainly supplies and cement mixers and another for wood. Other hardware stores of Faaa are Polymat, Polywood, and Polybuild. Ace delivery trucks are found throughout the neighborhoods of Faaa.
Faaa is full of cell phones. Faaa has major industrial valleys far inland. These areas have hardware industries as well. Ace is close to a store a lot like Circuit City. Dishwashers and refrigerators are the main goods found inside the store.
World Championship Tour
The surfing world champions of Teahupoo have been to Faaa. Teahupoo is a reef break, making big waves. The swells usually break to the left but sometimes break to the right. The big swells cause Teahupoo to become a major place for the World Championship Tour (WCT). People such as Mike Stewart and Ben Severson are the boogieboarding champions of Teahupoo. The first surfing champion of Teahupoo to win an award was in 1999.
Soccer games (in Faaa, it's called football) is a major sport played at the school parks. The parks have chairs set in a field and people can easily see the game. The soccer fields are relatively small.
Other major sports played in Faaa are tennis and basketball.
The name Faaa is sometimes spelled Faa’a in Tahitian, using the apostrophe to represent the glottal stop, as promoted by the Académie Tahitienne and accepted by the territorial government. Most people in the commune say it with two syllables when it's really three syllables. This apostrophe, however, is often omitted.
Music of Faaa
The nose flute (vivo) is a popular instrument throughout French Polynesia. Tahitian drums (toere) are also popular and are made from hollow trunks of trees and animal skins. The residents of Faaa can take lessons at the University of French Polynesia.
There are art museums in the mountains of Faaa. The mountains of Tahiti and other islands have inspired Paul Gauguin. Some paintings can be found in the museums which are a very popular tourist attraction. The Musee de la Perle is a major art museum in nearby Papeete. The house of James Norman Hall used to be a mansion in Arue. It is now a renowned museum that is a major tourist attraction. Art galleries are found throughout the island of Tahiti and there are 10 right in Papeete.
- "Préambule" Air Tahiti. Retrieved on 2 February 2011. "Société Air Tahiti Société Anonyme au capital de 2 760 000 000 CFP Siège social : aéroport de Tahiti - Faaa BP 314 - 98713 Papeete – Tahiti – Polynésie Française ."
- "La Compagnie." Air Moorea. Retrieved on 26 February 2010.
- I.S.S. - www.iss.pf - teiva, kaimana. "Académie Tahitienne - Fare V?na'a". Farevanaa.pf. Retrieved 2010-10-18.