Tahiti decolonisation bid, a 'long run'
Leaders of French Polynesia's pro-independence movement are braced for a long journey in their bid for self-determination.
A special advisor to a pro-independence politician in French Polynesia says the leaders of the movement are aware the journey to self-determination is going to be a long run, not a sprint.
It has been two years since the United Nations put French Polynesia back on the list of territories to be decolonised.
A representative in the Assembly of French Polynesia, Richard Tuheiava, says though there have been some baby steps taken towards self-determination since, major political obstacles lie ahead.
Nicole Pryor reports.
Richard Tuheiava says the 35-year wait to be put on the list is worth it.
"We've actually been able to write petitions before the committee of decolonisation as well as submitting our views and thoughts to the draft resolutions that are being adopted by the general assembly regarding French Polynesia, which is very much progress to us."
Mr Tuheiava says before the territory was on it, there was no hope for independence - now, he says pro-independence leaders are poised for France to rejoin the negotiations.
"There is no signal from the administering power that that they will come to a dialogue that was requested by the original resolution. We're not sure that this game is going to be very sustainable, but we're waiting for the moment that France will come back to the table."
Mr Tuheiava says to move forward, it's important to ease any anxiety the people of French Polynesia have about being cut off from France, through an education programme.
A special advisor on international relations for politician Oscar Temaru, Moetai Brotherson, says the political landscape on a domestic and international front points to a long game.
"Well I would say that we were fully aware this is not a sprint, but a long run - you know, it took 35 years to get back on that list, so we don't expect changes to come overnight."
Mr Brotherson says France's current strategy of feigning ignorance can only last so long.
"France which is basically ignoring it, and pretending nothing happened...they did the same thing for New Caledonia at the time, but this position can only last for a time."
But while France refuses to face the issue, Mr Brotherson says it's preventing some more significant steps.
One function of the UN's Special Committee on Decolonisation is to dispatch visiting missions to the territories.
Mr Brotherson says French Polynesia is yet to receive one.
"These visiting missions have to be organised in collaboration with the administering power...so as long as France keeps pretending that nothing has happened, more and more of the other countries are starting to point fingers at France, and saying you're not abiding by the rules you want all other countries to abide by."
Moetai Brotherson says he thinks the president of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch, is still open to the idea.
When asked by Radio New Zealand International whether independence is a priority for the government, Mr Fritch declined to comment.
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