14 Jan 2006

Customary council in French Polynesia dismayed at destruction of two marae

12:54 pm on 14 January 2006

The royal customary council in French Polynesia is dismayed people have seriously damaged two ancient cultural sites in recent months.

The council's culture and heritage spokesperson, Tunui Salmon, told the Tahitipresse news agency many listed sites had disappeared and people needed to examine their consciences.

Councillors say the Vae'arai marae in Taputapuatea on Raiatea has been wrecked.

They also noted the destruction of Pekia marae in the Marquesas, where the landowner took stones from the site to use in a river embankment.

Mr Salmon says the government's heritage code is a positive initiative, but it needs to be effected in reality.