The French Polynesian president says the main point in revising the autonomy statute is to calm domestic and international opinion about the legacy of the French nuclear weapons tests.
Edouard Fritch was speaking to reporters in Paris as the Senate was about to debate the reform which involves more than 60 amendments.
The new statute gives official recognition to French Polynesia's contribution to France developing its nuclear deterrent and states that the consequences of the tests have to be taken into account in every sphere.
Mr Fritch said he wanted to reassure the people of French Polynesia that France will help with the aftermath of the tests.
He said the nuclear issue was also being talked about a lot at the United Nations which six years ago returned French Polynesia onto the decolonisation list.
France carried out 193 nuclear weapon tests in the South Pacific between 1966 and 1996.