Papeete (päpā-ā´tā), town (2007 pop. 26,017), capital of Tahiti and of French Polynesia, South Pacific. A port on the NW coast of Tahiti, Papeete ships copra, vanilla, and mother-of-pearl. The town has an important French nuclear laboratory and an international airport. The University of French Polynesia is nearby in Punaauia.