France signs off Tahiti army land return

5:24 pm on 6 January 2017

France has published six decrees confirming the return of former French military bases on Tahiti to the relevant French Polynesian communities for a symbolic price of one euro.

Perimeter fence of the French military base in Tahiti.

Perimeter fence of the French military base in Tahiti. Photo: RNZI/ Walter Zweifel

A statement issued by the French High Commission in Papeete said the publication of the decrees marks a decisive step to help the territory's development.

It said it will give the communes and the territorial government 22 hectares worth about $US43 million to set up businesses and build houses.

Four more plots are to be returned at a date yet to be specified.

The statement said in view of the shortage of land on Tahiti, the deal is an exceptional opportunity for the territory.

The return of the land was first announced in 2008 by the then French defence minister Herve Morin when he confirmed further defence cuts begun after the end of the nuclear weapons tests in 1996.

France annexed Tahiti and its islands in 1880 and later excised Moruroa and Fangataufa for the atomic testing programme.

The two atolls remain French no-go zones.