Last modified: 2010-09-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: hau repupirita pakumotu | pakumotu republic | republique pakumotu | stars: 12 (yellow) |
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Flag of Pakumotu - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 August 2010
Hau Repupirita Pakumotu (Hau Pakumotu Republic) emerged in the
Polynesian media with an article published on 18 January 2010 by
Jeannot Rey in La Dépêche de Tahiti. The leaders of the organization say they have proclaimed the new republic on 11 November 2009 in Moorea and have officialized it on the marea (Maori sanctuary) of
Whalora, New Zealand. They claim to be "apolitic" and "serious" and
to manage "on their own way" the local institutions of the Pakumotu
(lit., "The cloud that supplies life") Republic; of course, they do
not recognize the legal institutions of French Polynesia. The
government, presided by President Athanase Terii, is made of 12
ministers, appointed for the next 15 years, three Senators and seven
Representatives. Mayors have also been appointed in the different
Jeannot Rey clearly points out that the new republic must be nothing but another sequel in the long series of self-proclaimed kings and presidents the Polynesians have been familiar with for the last 30 years. He reports a meeting held on 16 January in Paopao (Moorea), during which the Ministry of Defense of the republic attempted to enroll servants - firemen, state police, municipal police, sea police -, nothing less than 130 firemen in Moorea and 30 policemen in each municipality. Training of the new agents should start in February. Questioned on the origin of the funds required to organize the fire and police brigades, the leaders of the republic have refused to disclose the information yet, but promised to do it "in due time".
The article further recalls that Hau Pakumoto lists competed in the 2008 territorial elections, with a very limited success (94 voices - 2.53% of the vote cast - in East Tuamotu; 127 voices - 2.48% of the vote cast - in Western Tuamotu). The lists campaigned for the secession of Tuamotou as an independent state, or, at least, a separate territorial collectivity.
The Pakumotu officials rejected any comparison with the self- proclaimed government led by Tetua Mai, following his "success" (412 votes) in the 1982 territorial elections. Tetua Mai hired agents and sold identity cards; his career ended in jail after one of his "bodyguards" had injured a gendarme.
All the official authorities have been warned about this new "state government", especially the gendarmerie, who kept an eye on the Pakumotu situation.
In a short note published on 22 January 2010 in La Dépêche de Tahiti, Yves Fortunet reports that Pakumoto uses official stamps of the French state and of the municipalities, which is completely illegal. He further adds that several islanders in economic distress could be fooled by these guys, especially because their promises and acts are not so different from those of the registered political parties (there has been chronic political unrest in French Polynesia for years). This point of view is confirmed by the readers' comments of the different articles written on the topic.
As anticipated in the aforementioned papers, the Pakumoto Republic quickly experienced legal issues. Raphaël Pierre reports on 28 January 2010 in La Dépêche de Tahiti that the State Prosecutor commissioned the gendarmerie to hold a preliminary investigation for "swindle andusurpation of position and function". Cash and bank accounts were seized, as well as forged identity cards.
The cause of the Pakumotu Republic worsened in spring 2010. In La Dépêche de Tahiti, 21 April 2010, Jean-Marc Monnier announces that several members of the Pakumotu government lodged a complaint against President Athanase Terii. Some of the chiefs, senators and local kings of the new republic seemed to have realized that they have been fooled, together with hundreds of unemployed young islanders. They revealed that joining the Pakumotu Republic, presented as an association, costed 6,000 XCP - that is c. 50 €, an amount locally significant - to the conned members. Since nothing had been done yet with the funds, the complainers asked the president to refund all members.
On 2 July 2010, Athanase Terii organized in a room of the Assembly of
Polynesia a meeting with some 80 supporters. Wearing a toga and a
crown - this seems to have been his first public appearance under his
new avatar, King Pakumoto -, he decreed that the whole French
Polynesia was under the control of his government, which had been
transferred all state jurisdictions. He added that he was personally
in charge of the imports and exports of the state.
The next day, as reported in La Dépêche de Tahiti, 4 June 2010,
Terii was arrested by the gendarmerie and kept in custody.
Terii was released, which does not mean that his legal case is over, and the Pakumotu Republic turned into a carnavalesque affair. In the early days of July, supporters of the Pakumoto Republic demonstrated inside the Assembly of Polynesia. A few days later, the king hoisted his flag on the monument to Pouvana'a a Oopa - an historical Polynesian leader - at the entrance of the Assembly of Polynesia. The flag was promptly removed by the municipal police, causing the wreath of the king, who claimed that his state had been recognized by the United Nations and was about to be recognized by France.
Still dressed in the royal costume, he organized a parallel celebration of the French National Day on 14 July 2010.
Bertrand Prévost reports on 16 July 2010, La Dépêche de Tahiti, the latest exploit of King Pakumoto, now nicknamed the "Puppet King" or the "Mad King". On 15 July, escorted by a dozen of his last fans, he attempted to seize the building of the Assembly of French Polynesia to "hold the first session of his reign with his subjects". Another of his objectives was the hoisting the kingdom's flag between the flags of France and French Polynesia. Eventually noticing that the Assembly was closed, the king and his subjects lifted the unsuccessful siege two hours later. Three royal bodyguards of the king were arrested by the police and another complaint will be lodged for "position usurpation".
Ivan Sache, 31 July 2010
The flag of the Pakumotu Republic is described by Beky Teamo, one of
the then leaders of the movement, in the first aforementioned article.
The flag is blue (ocean), green (nature), yellow (light) and red (life). Twelve yellow stars placed in the upper left of the flag represent the Pakumotu islands, the 12 months of the year and the 12 apostles.
The flag appears printed on the T-shirt of a fan of the king on a photo (Les Nouvelles de Tahiti, 15 July) taken during the 14 July "parallel" ceremony organized by the king.
Ivan Sache & Chrystian Kretowicz, 3 August 2010