Court appeal over right to live in French Polynesia lagoon

3:42 pm on 4 November 2015
Tetiaroa in French Polynesia

Tetiaroa in French Polynesia Photo: AFP

An appeals court in French Polynesia is to decide the future of a man who has been living in a boat outside a large resort near Tahiti.

Teiki Pambrun lives in the lagoon of Tetiaroa atoll, which was purchased by the American actor Marlon Brando in 1967, who developed a small village and airstrip.

Since Mr Brando's death in 2004, the village has developed into a large, exclusive eco-resort with private beaches and 35 bungalows that go for 2,000 euros a night.

But the resort has found itself in a bitter feud with Mr Pambrun, who has set up his double-hulled canoe with a hut on top just off the beach outside the resort, claiming it's a public space.

Alex du Prel of Tahiti Pacifique magazine says the resort's owners took Mr Pambrun to court, which ruled that he was trespassing and forbade him from going within 10 kilometres of the resort.

But he says Mr Pambrun is appealing that ruling, arguing that the lagoon was never part of the sale.

"When Marlon Brando bought the atoll in 1967, the person who registered the purchase added in: 'this sale does not include the lagoon.' So if it's not included it's public water."

Alex du Prel says a decision is expected to made within weeks.