The French overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel, is cutting his official visit to French Polynesia short because of the death of his mother.
Mr Lurel arrived in Tahiti this morning and on arrival, he was told that his mother had just died in Guadeloupe.
He is to leave for Guadeloupe tonight.
Mr Lurel was met by the vice-president, Antony Geros, after the president, Oscar Temaru, issued a statement from New York to say he would be absent.
The opposition's Gaston Flosse criticised Mr Temaru for failing to be present for the minister's first official visit to Tahiti.