Tahiti (/təˈhiːti/; French pronunciation: [ta.iti]; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia. The island is located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the central Southern Pacific Ocean; it is divided into two parts: the bigger, northwestern part, Tahiti Nui, and the smaller, southeastern part, Tahiti Iti. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. The population is 189,517 inhabitants (2017 census), making it the most populous island of French Polynesia and accounting for 68.7% of its total population.
The first Tahitians arrived from Western Polynesia sometime around 1000 CE, after a long migration from South East Asia or Indonesia, via the Fijian, Samoan and Tongan Archipelagos. This hypothesis of an emigration from Southeast Asia is supported by a range of linguistic, biological and archaeological evidence. For example, the languages of Fiji and Polynesia all belong to the same Oceanic sub-group, Fijian–Polynesian, which itself forms part of the great family of the Austronesian languages.
This emigration, across several hundred kilometres of ocean, was made possible by using outrigger canoes that were up to twenty or thirty meters long and could transport families as well as domestic animals. In 1769, for instance, James Cook mentions a great traditional ship (va’a) in Tahiti that was 33 m (108 ft) long, and could be propelled by sail or paddles. In 2010, an expedition on a simple outrigger canoe with a sail retraced the route back from Tahiti to Asia. WikiPedia: