Tahiti . . . the very name evokes images of exotic tropical islands. They are images well deserved, for the beauty of the islands is matched by the spirit of the Polynesian people and the richness of their cultural traditions.
Tahiti today is a modern Pacific nation whose population is a cosmopolitan blend of ancient Polynesian heritage and French élan. Most of the Tahitians you will meet at the Polynesian Cultural Center have learned English as their third or even fourth language. For example, most of them grew up speaking Tahitian or another island dialect such as Tuamotu, then learned French in school and English as an elective. While the overlay of French culture and influence is undeniable, the Tahitians still take great pride in their ancient Polynesian heritage.
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