FRENCH POLYNESIA BUYS TUPAI ATOLL

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FRENCH POLYNESIA GOVERNMENT BUYS TUPAI ATOLL

PAPEETE, Tahiti (August 4, 1997 - Radio Australia)---The government of French Polynesia has acquired Tupai atoll, northwest of Bora Bora, for almost $8,000,000 and plans to develop it as a tourist destination.

The atoll was purchased from a well known Papeete resident, Lejeune, who transformed the small atoll into one of the richest copra plantations in the Society Islands archipelago.

Lejeune sold the atoll because of heavy debts.

Complicating the transaction are land title claims by at least 1,000 local Polynesians, resulting from ancestral rights to parts of the atoll.

French Polynesia's territorial government has promised to protect Tupai's environment and wildlife and to offer what it called "reasonable levels of tourism."

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