1 Mar 2007

French Polynesian land claims to be raised at meeting

4:19 pm on 1 March 2007

The French Polynesian lands minister, Luc Tefaatau, has called a public meeting in Tahiti tonight to discuss an apparent land dispute in Punaauia.

The man claiming to be the heir to the Tahitian crown, the Prince Royal of Tahaa Tauatomo Mairau, has declared possession of all royal land.

He bases his claim on an 1842 document about the French occupation of the islands which states that land remains in the possession of the Tahitian queen and her people.

Tauatomo Mairau has granted a liquor licence to a man in Punaauia and denied that the local administration has any authority over what he says is still royal land.

The minister has told local television that he thinks the land belongs to the territory.

He says those who disagree should submit proof of their claim.