17 Mar 2005

Royal claimant in Tahiti dismisses proposed royal council as politics

3:05 pm on 17 March 2005

A descendant of Tahiti's Queen Pomare IV, Tauatomo Mairau, says the proposed creation of a royal customary council in French Polynesia is just politics.

The council has been proposed by former royal families from the various archipelagos to guarantee traditional land ownership amid claims that France has ignored some of the provisions of the treaties signed with the Polynesians in the 19th century.

Tauatomo Mairau says such a customary council can work in New Caledonia or in Wallis but has no basis in Tahiti because by treaty all land is inalienable and belongs to the crown.

"All of these lands, Mururoa, Raiatea, the Austral islands, the Marquesas and here Tahiti, Moorea, they depend on the crown of Tahiti."

Tauatomo Mairau bases his claim on the treaty of 1880 but its validity is being questioned because of discrepancies in the text of the Tahitian and French versions.