Tahiti played its first full match on 21 September 1952, at home against New Zealand, and drew 2–2. Seven days later the two teams played again and New Zealand won 5–3. On 30 September they played each other for a third time, and Tahiti gained its first victory, by 2–0. However, it is unknown whether this was a full international.
In September 1953, Tahiti played three matches in New Caledonia against its national side, losing the first 5–0 and the later two 4–1. They then travelled to the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) and beat its national side 4–2 twice. In 1989, under the leadership of Napoleon Spitz, the official federation was created.
Tahiti entered its first World Cup qualification with the aim of reaching the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. They were placed in Group A with Australia and the Solomon Islands, and played their first match away to the Solomon Islands in Honiara on 11 July 1992. Eric Etaeta equalised for Tahiti to make it 1–1 in the 76th minute. On 11 September Tahiti hosted Australia in Papeete and lost 3–0. The next fixture was again against Australia, and resulted in a 2–0 away defeat in Brisbane on 20 September. On 9 October in Papeete, Tahiti beat the Solomon Islands 4–2. Tahiti's first goal was scored as an 8th-minute penalty from Reynald Temarii, a politician and current president of the Oceania Football Confederation. However, Tahiti finished second to Australia in the group and did not advance.
By winning the 2012 OFC Nations Cup, Tahiti qualified for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil for the first time. On 17 June 2013, even though, Tahiti lost 1–6 to Nigeria in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, with Jonathan Tehau getting the goal for Tahiti in the second half with a header from a corner, Tahiti fans still rejoiced in the prospect of scoring a goal in an international tournament. On 20 June 2013, Tahiti lost 10–0 against Spain equalling their biggest ever loss against New Zealand nine years earlier. On 23 June 2013, Tahiti was beaten 8–0 by Uruguay. In all, they conceded 24 goals and scored one. They ended with a goal differential of −23, the worst of any national team in any major competition. But even with the bad record and heavy defeats, Tahiti's underdog qualities gathered huge respect from the people of Brazil, who always cheered for them in every match. Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque, and strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa - who scored four and three goals respectively against Tahiti - complimented the team's fair play.