Our relationship with French Polynesia

New Zealand and French Polynesia have close indigenous and cultural links. It’s believed that Māori departed from French Polynesia’s Raiatea Island on their voyage to New Zealand hundreds of years ago. The Polynesian languages of French Polynesia are also closely related to Te Reo Māori.

French Polynesia is an “overseas country” of France (a designation rather than a legal term). It has autonomy in some domestic areas, and France has control over law and order, security, defence, finance and most foreign affairs. 

French Polynesia became a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in 2016 and is represented at regional forums such as the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

French Polynesia is made up of 118 islands in the far south-eastern corner of the Pacific. It has a population of 285, 859 (2018). 


The French naval forces in the Pacific are based in the capital Papeete, Tahiti. New Zealand and France work together through the France, Australia, New Zealand (FRANZ) arrangement in maritime surveillance and emergency and disaster relief.


March 2018 Statistics

Total trade in goods 

NZD $ 136.8 million


Exports to French Polynesia

NZD $ 135.2 million

Top exports: beef, ships, dairy, iron and steel

Imports from French Polynesia

NZD $ 1.6 million

Top imports: pearls, aluminium and scrap metal

French Polynesia is New Zealand’s third highest value Pacific market for goods exports, after Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

In 2017, 9,380 New Zealanders visited French Polynesia. In the same year 22,192 visitors from French Polynesia travelled to New Zealand.

In February 2016 New Zealand and French Polynesia signed a cooperation agreement to improve connectivity in the Pacific via a submarine cable linking French Polynesia to New Zealand and servicing Niue, Tokelau and the Cook Islands.


The New Zealand Consulate-General in New Caledonia manages a modest aid programme to the French Pacific Territories (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna). This includes short-term training scholarships for English language and technical courses, as well as funding for small development projects.

Find out more about our Scholarships for people from the French Pacific Territories


Recent official visits

New Zealand to French Polynesia
  • March 2018: Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, attended the French Pacific Business Days Event
  • 2014: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully led a delegation to French Polynesia
French Polynesia to New Zealand
  • February 2018: William Vanizette, Senior Economic Advisor to French Polynesian Vice-President visited New Zealand
  • December 2017: Minister of Primary Resources, Land and Seabed Minerals Tearii Alpha visited New Zealand and called on Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rt Hon Winston Peters
  • May 2016:  President Edouard Fritch visited New Zealand as part of French Prime Minister Manual Valls’ official delegation
  • 2012: President Oscar Temaru called on Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully
  • 2011: President Oscar Temaru attended the Pacific Islands Forum meetings in Auckland

News & Events

New Caledonia: Tropical Cyclone Cook

New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Cook has passed through New Caledonia as a Category 3 cyclone bringing destructive winds and heavy rain.