Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, an overseas country of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune (municipality) of Papeete is located on the island of Tahiti, in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands, of which Papeete is the administrative capital. The French High Commissioner also resides in Papeete. It is the primary center of Tahitian and French Polynesian public and private governmental, commercial, industrial and financial services, the hub of French Polynesian tourism and a commonly used port of call. The Windward Islands are themselves part of the Society Islands. The name Papeete means "water from a basket".
Papeete, located on the island of Tahiti became the capital of Free France in the decades after the Peace of Cairo of 1944. Nonetheless, the town remained in some ways a sleepy town.
In 1964, ginger smugglers Rance Auerbach and Penny Summers fled South Africa to Tahiti and took up residence in the town. Summers and Auberbach continued on in the ginger trade in Papeete, as Race tourists traveled there, and the Free French government was more than willing to look the other way (after skimming off the top).