3 Feb 2009

Tahitian land activist claims France disregards 19th century treaties

1:01 pm on 3 February 2009

There has been a strong reaction to a French Polynesian investigation into a land deal, with a spokesman for descendants of the Tahitian royal family claiming that if there has been any land theft it was committed by France.

Joinville Pomare says he is the target of a plot aimed at getting at his friend, veteran politician Emile Vernaudon, who has already been convicted for corruption.

Mr Pomare is under investigation over alleged illegal land use but he claims that he is neither a fraudster nor a thief.

Speaking to RFO radio, he lashed out at France, saying it has been the French state that has failed to honour the 1842 and 1880 treaties it had signed with King Pomare of Tahiti.

This comes amid court cases brought against France by the man claiming to be heir to Tahiti's royal title, the Prince Royal of Tahaa Tauatomo Mairau.

However, the French authorities say documents confirming the prince's title are a mistake committed by officials, and no rightful royal claimant exists.