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Puna'auia, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Location of the commune (in red) within the Windward Islands
Location of the commune (in red) within the Windward Islands
Coordinates: 17°38′S 149°36′W / 17.63°S 149.60°W / -17.63; -149.60Coordinates: 17°38′S 149°36′W / 17.63°S 149.60°W / -17.63; -149.60
Country France
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
 • Mayor Rony Tumahai
Area 75.9 km2 (29.3 sq mi)
Population (August 2007 census)1 25,441
 • Density 340/km2 (870/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 98738 /98718
Elevation 0–2,241 m (0–7,352 ft)
1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Puna'auia is a commune in the suburbs of Papeete in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. Puna'auia is located on the island of Tahiti, in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands, themselves part of the Society Islands. In the late 1890s, the French painter Paul Gauguin lived in Puna'auia. Here he painted his masterpiece Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?. The commune borders Faaa on the north and Paea on the south.


Like many of the other communes and islands of French Polynesia, the area was first settled by early Polynesians from Asia around 1,000 years ago. These people have already settled on the Marquesas Islands and then they traveled on their sea canoes to the Society Islands. They had lived off of fish and other early creatures of Tahiti. Most of the early Polynesians had built houses on the beach. Later on, they had built houses further inland because of high tide. Captain James Cook came on his expedition to chart the Pacific islands during 1770. He also came with explorer Englishman Samuel Wallis to explore. James Cook later went to Australia. Charles Darwin came to the Society Islands in the 1800s from the western pacific. Puna'auia experienced a major population boom in the late 1990s. The commune now has about 25,000 inhabitants and is the 3rd largest commune by population in French Polynesia.


The Aremiti ferry is the main ferry that sails to Moorea and a few other Society Islands. The ferry is white with red stripes. The other is the Moorea Ferry which is white on the top and blue on the bottom.