Court decides future of Tahiti man living in canoe
An appeals court in French Polynesia is to decide the future of a man who has been living in a canoe outside a large resort near Tahiti.
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 told Jamie Tahana that Mr Pambrun is appealing that ruling.
ALEX DU PREL: The story behind it is that after Marlon Brando died someone set up a corporation and leased the island for 99 years. During Marlon's time it was a little hotel with 10 huts and you were back to nature, people loved that way. So the new corporation came with tax credits and government help and everything and they put up a huge 24 bungalow hotel, extra high class deluxe. And here we have Teiki Pambrun, he has a little double-hull canoe with a little Tahitian hut on it, he was declared a big enemy to the hotel which was bulldozing reefs and pumping sand and everything - they were the great protectors. So he got condemned, this is about eight or nine months ago, that he had to leave and he was condemned that he had to pay 1,000 New Zealand dollars per day if he would stay in the lagoon. And he appealed against it and we should have in the next few weeks the decision by the Court of Appeal.
JAMIE TAHANA: And so he's been living here in his canoe and the resort is now expanding, and they don't like him there?
ADP: I think what bothers them the most, when the resort starts getting kind of vile, is that while they've been promoting you know, they have deep water - they go down to 1,000 metres to pump cold water to air condition the huts and they put up solar panels all along the new runway, the big story is 'we are the new number one eco-resort in the world, everything is either the sun or the deep ocean' and the problem is Teiki Pambrun there, alone on his boat with his wife and kid. He's taking pictures of the great ecological cranes and backhoes and everything that keeps crossing the lagoon and pumping sand and breaking reefs and so on.
JT: This has ended up in court though, this whole expelling him from the island and stuff.
ADP: The first judgement; he wasn't allowed to approach ten kilometres from the atoll. The problem is that when Marlon Brando bought the atoll in 1967, the lagoon was part of the atoll and the person who registered all the motus of Tetiaroa by himself added in 'this sale does not include the lagoon'. So if it's not included it belongs to French Polynesia. So it's public water.
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