The first Bishop of Polynesia, Mgr Tepano Jaussen, supervised the construction on the church, which incorporated stones from Australia and granite from the Gambier Archipelago; however, building was halted when resources ran out, and the cathedral was later destroyed and rebuilt from scratch. Over the years, it has been restored numerous times, in 1967, 1988 and 2005.
At 131 feet (40m) by 49 feet (15m) the church isn't grand, but is simplistically beautiful with a sunny yellow facade, intricate stained glass windows depicting local landscapes and people and a multidimensional arched doorway. Visitors are able to step inside for a look at the interior, which showcases artwork depicting the crucifixion, a life-size wood carving of the Madonna and child, circular chandeliers with candles and an alter adorned with colorful flowers. Additionally, it's an excellent place to get out of the sun as the inside is always cool.
The building has also survived many significant historical moments, like a tidal wave in 1906, the bombing of Papeete by German destroyers in 1914, cyclones in 1983 and riots in 1987.