NEWS FROM FRENCH POLYNESIA

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Wednesday, August 25, 1999
PINA Nius Online

POLITICS BAR MISS TAHITI RUNNER-UP FROM CONTESTING MISS FRANCE 2000 TITLE

PAPE‘ETE---The runner-up in the Miss Tahiti contest has been denied entry into the Miss France 2000 beauty contest amid tensions caused by French Polynesia’s plan to take part in the Miss World contest as an overseas country, RFO-radio reports.

"We're not refusing to go. Manoa Fruge is number one in the current Miss Tahiti contest, so she goes to the biggest contest. Everything is happening at the same time, Miss France on December 11, Miss World on December 4. She (Geneviève de Fontenay) has started to alert everyone. She's starting to get on our nerves," Miss Tahiti Committee President Dominique Petras said.

"And for Miss World, we got a letter from their committee asking us to take part as an overseas country. There's nothing political in this, even if some say the (French Polynesian) President is behind this and that we want to play independent countries."

"I say she'd better calm down," Petras said.

The Miss France committee resented French Polynesia not having nominated the Miss Tahiti winner, Manoa Fruge, to participate in the Miss France contest, instead naming her runner-up, Tiare Trompette.

Fruge is also running for the Miss World contest, and will be busy in December because of the competition scheduled to take place in London, the French Polynesian committee argues.

This year, French Polynesia's organizing committee also is planning to send its beauties to the Miss Asia-Pacific (in the Philippines), Miss South Pacific (in Samoa), and Miss International (in Japan) contests.

The French organizing committee and its President, controversial Geneviève de Fontenay, finally decided not to accept Trompette as a contestant, which leaves traditionally well placed French Polynesia not represented in the 2000 contest.

The Miss France title, which is currently held by Mareva Galanter, also sparked controversy with a court in Paris having to rule on Galanter's election last December amidst allegations of fraud and bribery in the jury.

ANNUAL DANCE CELEBRATIONS CONTROVERSIAL WINNERS CONFIRMED

PAPE‘ETE---In spite of a huge disagreement that marred French Polynesia's annual heiva dance competition, the winning Te Maeva group was finally confirmed on Tuesday, RFO-radio reports

Heiva is the most important cultural event here, a spectacular yearly dance competition celebrating the world famous Tahitian "tamure" dance.

It was alleged that some members of the jury had been bribed into favoring Te Maeva.

Competition results proclaimed last July 22, declaring the Te Maeva group the winner, had not been made official for a month, after a disgruntled group leader filed a complaint with the Polynesian Culture Ministry, alleging the jury was biased.

O Tahiti e group leader Marguerite Lai accused some members of the jury of being bribed into favoring Te Maeva. She demanded that the results of the 1999 heiva contest be rejected.

"This is making me sick. We can't let them get away with it, because this destroys the very spirit of heiva. Everyone is saying it, group leaders, dancers and the general public," Lai said earlier.

French Polynesia's Culture Minister Louise Peltzer had to set up a commission of inquiry to look into possible irregularities.

The jury sat again on Tuesday and after four hours of deliberation, vote Te Maeva again, by a close 4-3 vote.

"This at least gave a say to those who didn’t support Te Meava. Now the matter is settled, I hope once and for all. But mind you, only tomorrow knows how people will react to our verdict," heiva organizer Jean-Marc Pembrun said.

TAHITI PACIFIQUE MAGAZINE CELEBRATES 100TH ISSUE

PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (August 25, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---The monthly Tahiti Pacifique magazine is celebrating its 100th issue with clear signs of success after eight years of operation, RFO-radio reports.

The paper, which publisher, Alex du Prel, wittingly terms "the naughty little duck" (duck being an argotic word for newspaper in French), has gone from its initial 1,800 circulation to the 4,000 mark this year, including 600 subscribers outside French Polynesia.

Tahiti Pacific, which is run on a one-man band principle from du Prel's home in Mo‘orea island (across from Tahiti), is published in French. It covers French Polynesian, but also regional issues and prides itself on its independence.

Although drawing regular criticisms from the local French Polynesian scene because of its irreverent tone, it counts regional scientists, historians and writers among its subscribers.

"We didn't make a big thing out of (this issue 100), just two pages with unsolicited letters from readers and three pictures. We're carrying on with our stand. We remain a fiercely independent medium which wants to give everyone the opportunity to express themselves," du Prel explained.

"I think that's where our commercial success comes from. We always carry news that wouldn't usually appear in the other media, even on TV."

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Editor: Patrick Antoine Decloitre For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj

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