Tahiti has provided a taste of the colour and hospitality for which French Polynesia is renowned with Friday’s official opening of the Tahua To'ata Stadium; venue for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013.
Five days out from the opening matchday for the first FIFA tournament to be held in the Pacific, the capital of Papeete reverberated to party sights and sounds rarely seen in this usually slow-paced holiday paradise.
The Tahua To'ata Stadium welcomed the vibrant Hei Tahiti, the winner of the Heiva i Tahiti (annual traditional dance contest), there was a live rendition of Tu'e Popo, the official song for Tahiti 2013, while the national team rounded out proceedings in style with an impressive 9-2 win over Australia.
The party then spread to the waterfront where the second edition of the Puromu Party (literally "party on the street") took place. The city transformed itself into a giant concert, with four stages along the seaside welcoming renowned local performers for a singing and dancing audience. The evening was capped by a lengthy fireworks display, illuminating Papeete’s warm evening sky.
On the pitch Tahiti buoyed local hopes for success with a confident performance in their final international ahead of their tournament opener against United Arab Emirates on Thursday. The Tiki Toa made an emphatic opening with three goals in the opening six minutes before Australia pulled a goal back prior to the end of the first period. Raimana Li Fung Kuee, Tahiti captain in the absence of Naea Bennett, then came to the fore with an impressive hat-trick as Tiki Toa entertained the capacity crowd with a goal avalanche.