FRENCH POLYNESIA PRESIDENT FLOSSE BOOSTS SURFING

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PAPEETE, French Polynesia (April 13, 2000 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---President Gaston Flosse has announced further financial assistance for the Tahitian Surfing Federation as plans are implemented for an international competition to be held here, RFO-radio reports.

The "Tahiti Gotcha Pro" competition, which will take place in May, will be hosted by the Tahitian Federation, but organized by an American, who gets television rights in exchange.

Federation president Denis Vardon received one million French Pacific Francs (about US$ 10,000) for the project.

Earlier, the former organizer of the competition, a local resident, was dismissed and blamed for lack of results.

There are an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 surfers in French Polynesia, but only 150 are registered with the Tahitian federation.

"But here, surfing, is mainly a leisure time pursuit, not a competition sport," Vardon said.

 

LOCAL ASSOCIATION FIGHTS FOR ITS INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE

PAPEETE, French Polynesia (April 13, 2000 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---Local supporters in the Tuamotu archipelago (northeast of Tahiti) have formed an association that will lobby for the creation of an academy to preserve their indigenous languages, RFO-radio reports.

‘Te reo Tuamotu’ (Tuamotu Language) Association supporters met last Saturday and resolved to take every step necessary to preserve their "Paumotu" languages.

There are seven Paumotu languages in the archipelago, which consists of seven distinct island groups.

The current plan is to assess the feasibility of creating a joint academy for both the Tuamotu and Gambier (southeast of Tahiti) archipelagos in the French territory’s capital, Papeete.

"The idea of this academy did not begin yesterday. There was a Tahitian academy first. Some of our old people actually took part in its creation," said ‘Te reo Tuamotu’ Vice President Maxime Hauata.

"But this was for all languages spoken in (French) Polynesia. But for our specific languages, we’ll have to have a separate institution."

French Polynesia’s official languages are French and Tahitian.

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