16 Dec 2010

Tahiti call for public debate on land ownership disputes

1:47 pm on 16 December 2010

The Indigenous Customary Council in Tahiti says it wants to have a public debate with the French Polynesian lands minister, Tearii Alpha, over his plans to settle land disputes emanating from the colonisation by France in the 19th century.

Mr Alpha has suggested that one avenue to consider could be the New Zealand approach to settle Maori land claims.

But the head of the Council, Joinville Pomare, says the issue will not be resolved by experts tied to land development companies, lawyers prying on the naivete of the natives and a judiciary that's not competent to rule on land matters.

Mr Pomare says the 1880 treaty with France laying out land matters has not been abrogated.

He says while the treaty has given the indigenous people French nationality, it has not deprived them of their status as natives while also giving them the French state's guarantee to respect their rights.

Mr Pomare says indigenous owners have been insiduously left out of economic development since 1842 and are still being tricked.