RAIATEA MARAE SITE PROPOSED FOR WORLD HERITAGE LISTING

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Taputapuatea was ‘religious center of Eastern Polynesia’

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, May 27, 2009) – The famous Taputapuatea marae on the Leeward island of Raiatea is now on the French list for proposals to UNESCO's World Heritage list.

Tahitian Senator Richard Tuheiava said he was pleased by this decision.

This is an important step that could help put the Taputapuatea marae, an ancient Tahitian sacred site, on UNESCO's World Heritage list.

Marae Taputapuatea is a large marae complex on the south eastern coast of Raiatea. The site features in fact a number of marae and many stone structures.

It was once considered to be the religious center of Eastern Polynesia. The marae was already established by 1000 AD with significant expansion after this time.

Marae Taputapuatea is in the middle of the "Polynesian triangle", between Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island.

"This will increase the credibility of Polynesian culture and identity", Senator Tuheiava said.

"All Polynesians ought to be satisfied by this decision", he added.

Tuheiava worked hard on this project for several years before he was elected Senator last September.

Another French Polynesian site, the Marquesas archipelago, located 1 500 Km in the North East of Tahiti, has been proposed to UNESCO's World Heritage list since September 2006.

"We now have two sites and this coud bring development both for touristic, cultural and environmental reasons", Senator Tuheiava said.

"There will be no competition between the two projects. They will be complementary", Tuheiava claimed.

Tahitipresse: www.tahitipresse.pf

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