Tahitian dancing suffers world heritage setback

11:17 am on 4 February 2019

French Polynesia's bid to make the 'ori tahiti traditional dance part of UNESCO's world heritage has suffered a setback.

'Ori Tahiti dancers.

'Ori Tahiti dancers. Photo: Facebook / Ori Tahiti Nui Competitions / Kea'z Tching

The French president Emmanuel Macron has decided against endorsing the bid when Paris next submits its applications to UNESCO.

In November, a large government delegation visited Paris to lobby the French culture ministry, which vets applications for approval by the president.

The trip followed a resolution by French Polynesia's assembly endorsing the campaign to promote the dance.

But in last week's debate about French overseas territories, Mr Macron said in the next round of France's submissions he would support a project from Martinique, which wants to make its traditional sailing boats part of world heritage.

Last November, a UNESCO team visited Papeete to hand over a certificate recognising Taputaputatea marae in Raiatea as France's 44th UNESCO world heritage site.

French Polynesia does not have UNESCO membership but is represented by France while New Caledonia is an associate member.

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