French Polynesia History and Culture. Early Settlement. People, Tradition and Lifestyle. A Book for tourism and Information. Polynesian culture, the beliefs and practices of the indigenous peoples of the ethnogeographic group of Pacific Islands known as Polynesia (from Greek poly ‘many’ and nesoi ‘islands’). Polynesia encompasses a huge triangular area of the east-central Pacific Ocean. The triangle has its apex at the Hawaiian Islands in the north and its base angles at New Zealand (Aotearoa) in the west and Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in the east. It also includes (from northwest to southeast) Tuvalu, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), American Samoa, Tonga, Niue, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia (Tahiti and the other Society Islands, the Marquesas Islands, the Austral Islands, and the Tuamotu Archipelago, including the Gambier Islands (formerly the Mangareva Islands), and Pitcairn Island. At the turn of the 21st century, about 70 percent of the total population of Polynesia resided in Hawaii.