The French high commission in French Polynesia says the land tribunal set up by descendants of Tahiti's royal families at the weekend has no institutional standing.
In a statement, it says there is no basis in law for such a tribunal and it could mislead the population.
But a spokesman for the families' organisation, Joinville Pomare, says with its communiques the French state won't be able to stop the new judges.
Mr Pomare has told the Tahitipresse news agency that France, as the home of human rights, should protect indigenous rights rather than give law lectures.
He says although France signed the treaties of 1842 and 1880 which left land matters in the hands of the Tahitians, France never respected them.
Mr Pomare says they don't want to cause trouble but only recover what was expropriated.