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30. I PRIVATE ISLANDS I TRAVEL TAhITI I 31.

The IrresIsTIble sIsTers of The socIeTy Islands

©The ST. RegiS BoRa BoRa ReSoRT

©The ST. RegiS BoRa BoRa ReSoRT

Choosing your PerfeCt PieCe of frenCh Polynesia

By aefa Mulholland

Marlon Brando was not the rst famous visitor to fall for French Polynesia; this scatter of 118 idyllic islands that glistens across an area approximately the size of Europe has been winning overseas admirers for hundreds of years. Brando fell for the Society Islands while lming Mutiny on the Bounty in 1960, but the rst Europeans landed in Tahiti in 1767. Captain Cook, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, W. Somerset Maugham and James A. Michener all later took home glowing descriptions of the archipelago — one of ve island chains that constitute French Polynesia — and Paul Gauguin brought the colors of its lush atolls and shimmering lagoons to life on canvas.

Consisting of 14 main islands and the islets — or motus — that ring the islands’ lagoons, the Society Islands are home to some of the world’s most desirable private island properties. There are currently just half a dozen private islands on the market in the archipelago, mostly clustered round Bora Bora in the northwest of the chain and Taha’a in the southwest.

While the islands and their surrounding lagoons share common characteristics such as perfect weather, turquoise waters, pristine sands, ve-star resorts, and charming locals, the islands offer very different experiences, atmospheres, and lifestyles, offering something of a dilemma to the international island buyer. So how does a prospective private island buyer choose the right island to suit their taste and personality? Is it

Buying in frenCh Polynesia

Non-French Polynesian nationals who are not considered to have been residing in the region for 5-10 years must obtain an authorization permit from an of cial Notary of the French Polynesian government. A minimum of a US$300,000 investment is usually required. Property must be cleared for sale and checked for “indivision” issues created by single parcels of land often having several owners. Leaseholds come with many rights and it’s worth weighting up the merits of leasehold properties against freehold option before buying.

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