12 Jun 2009

French Polynesia president suggests islands' to change name

5:09 pm on 12 June 2009

Debate has been ignited in French Polynesia on whether the territory should change its name as wide-ranging talks are to begin next week to chart the archipelago's future.

The brainstorming sessions were called by France after the unrest in the French Antilles in March.

The president of French Polynesia, Oscar Temaru recently labelled its name as an abstract concept and referred to the island group as Maohi Nui.

This has prompted the opposition's Edouad Fritch, to ask in the assembly whether it was appropriate to launch next week's talks with discussions about the country's name.

Mr Temaru has invoked the idea of holding a referendum for the people to decide.

Mr Fritch says voters could be asked whether they would like to adopt the name French Polynesia-Tahiti Nui.