Tahitian royal claimant Mairau dies in French Polynesia

The man claiming to be the heir to the Tahitian crown, the Prince Royal of Tahaa, Tauatomo Mairau, has died in the French Polynesian capital, Papeete.

Born in Rurutu, Tauatomo Mairau spent much of his life in France working for the military intelligence service.

On retirement, he campaigned for the restoration of the monarchy, unsuccessfully taking his case to the courts in France.

While official documents attested his title as prince, the administration labelled it as a clerical error.

Seven years ago, he announced a royal government but said it was in no way aimed at reneging on the ties that unite the Polynesian people and the French state.

He said he wanted to denounce the errors committed since the declaration of 1880 signed by France and King Pomare V.

The 1880 document states that the power to govern is given to France while titles and land rights remain the domain of Tahitians.

Tauatomo Mairau will be buried next week.

Next story in Pacific: Tahiti assembly votes against UN decolonisation bid