31 Oct 2005

Push for Customary Senate in French Polynesia

7:51 am on 31 October 2005

An estimated 2,500 people in French Polynesia have met at the tomb of Tahiti's King Pomare V as part of a push to set up a customary senate.

The meeting was attended by descendants of the Tahitian royal families as well as delegations from Hawaii, Easter Island, New Caledonia and the Cook Islands.

One of the spokespeople, Joinville Pomare says he has appealed to the chiefs to find a solution to today's problems.

He has listed as a priority the land question, which he has described as a recurring problem.

Although the Kingdom of Tahiti ceded France key powers in a treaty signed 1880, land matters were retained by the Tahitian royalty.

The man claiming to be the heir to the Tahitian crown, the Prince Royal of Tahaa Tauatomo Mairau, has said the proposed creation of a customary council is just politics.