31 Jan 2005

Genealogists appointed to help with land claims in French Polynesia

12:12 pm on 31 January 2005

Two weeks out from French Polynesia's by-election for 37 seats, the government of Gaston Flosse has agreed to fund five genealogists to deal with land claims.

This comes amid a commitment by Mr Flosse to return the government-owned atoll of Tupai to its original landowners.

Walter Zweifel reports:

"Land has become a campaign issue in the election which is being hotly contested in the latest phase of the political turmoil. As land claims have recently multiplied and thousands of people claim a stake in Mr Flosse's retreat island of Tupai, a House of Genealogy is being set up in Tahiti. The group, Faahoi I te Fenua o te Nunaa, is to examine the ownership claims. But in a televised debate, the former vice-president, Jacqui Drollet, accused Mr Flosse of playing for time and deferring court action to retain Tupai until after the election."