27 May 2004

Pacific states urged to stake heritage claims

9:36 am on 27 May 2004

Pacific countries are being encouraged by a New Zealand official to register more sites with UNESCO for World Heritage status.

Currently there's only one Pacific Island country, Solomon Islands, to have sought such registration.

Brian Shepherd, from New Zealand's Department of Conservation, says he's planning a regional conference for Pacific leaders, to outline international assistance.

Mr Shepherd says it's difficult to get registration, but he says he's prepared to help.

"It's really self determination to allow them to identify and protect the heritage that's so special for them and that is accepted by the international committee of being of international significance."

The regional meeting will take place in October, at New Zealand's Tongariro National Park in the central North Island, which is, itself, a World Heritage site.