Tahitian royal claimant Mairau dies in French Polynesia
Claimant to Tahitian crown, the Prince Royal of Tahaa Tauatomo Mairau, dies in French Polynesia capital.
A 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 but on retirement, he campaigned for the restoration of the monarchy, unsuccessfully taking his case to the courts in Paris.
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.
Two years earlier during a major political crisis, he backed a presidential candidate in Tahiti. Rene Hoffer shared with Walter Zweifel his interpretation of the documents on which French rule is based.
HOFFER: When in France he's in Brittany, his wife is living in Brittany. So he went there usually once a year, two months or so out of the year. He has his daughter who is a lawyer in the south of France and who came here sometimes for specific cases. So, actually, she will be coming on Saturday. The burial will be on the 21st here. There has been, according to the newspaper, an autopsy because you never know.
ZWEIFEL: What did he base his claim to the royal title on, given that the Tahitian monarchy seemed to have ceased to exist after 1880?
HOFFER: Well, 1880 was a so-called treaty between Pomare V and the representative of France. And even this, it relates a little bit like the Waitangi Treaty - the translations are not the same. What his sentence is, the text of the treaty, actually it's a royal declaration, the written word. It says 'making a reunion between our states and France'. That means that the king had a state of his own and it was just a reunion. That word 'reunion' has been turned into cession. The text says 'reunion'. If one day we go back to that simple word 'reunion', which is printed, it's all solved. And then it all has to come back. 'Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar'. Then it has to be sorted out. Of course, it's a huge situation. And as long as this will be hidden, protected by the judges, by, whatever, the politicians, nothing will come out, the truth will not come out.
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