Saturday, June 16, 2007

Papeete,Tahiti - Big Doings - June 25th - June 29th

Tahitian Dancer

A four day celebration of the Autonomy Festival, culminating with fireworks over Papeete, will commence on June 25th. Most of the activities will be held at the Presidency in downtown Papeete.

Monday, June 25th will be artisan's day.
On Tuesday, June 26th there will be workshops to introduce the public to traditional and classical arts, including dancing and singing and traditional percussion instruments.
Wednesday, June 27th will be dedicated to the sea and to tourism.
Thursday, June 28th will be a day of literature and cinema.

Tahitipresse reported that this year's Autonomy Day will be celebrated next Friday (OP's note: are they referring to Friday the 22nd or Friday the 29th?) with a variety of entertainment starting at 9 am at Place Tarahoi and Bougainville Park in downtown Papeete.

A 1 pm ceremony will be held on June 29th at the "Pont de l'Est", a rotary on the north side of Papeete with a monument in honor of French Polynesia's internal autonomy relationship with France. Papeete Mayor Michel Buillard, Sen. Gaston Flosse and French Polynesia President Gaston Tong Sang are scheduled to participate.

The celebration will move to the presidency at 2 pm on June 29th with a presentation of the athletic delegation that will represent French Polynesia at the 13th South Pacific Games, which will be held from August 25th - September 8th in Apia, Samoa. This will be followed by a ceremony for the presentation of Tahiti Nui Order medals.

Public entertainment will be held at two downtown Papeete locations starting at 6 pm on June 29th, Place To'ata (concerts) and Place Vaiete (traditional Tahitian atmosphere recalling the period of Papeete's former famous night spot, Quinn's Bar). A fireworks display over the Port of Papeete will bring the four day celebration to a close.

Autonomy Day has traditionally been a controversial holiday, with the pro-autonomy political parties led by Flosse and the independence party and its coalition led by Oscar Temaru never agreeing on the proper date for the celebration. While the pro-autonomy politicians have always favored June 29th, the Temaru supporters have favored November 20th.

June 29th is the date in 1984 when French Polynesia's organic law approved by the French Parliament took effect, giving the overseas community, formerly known as a territory, greater internal autonomy while remaining part of the French Republic.

Photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme.

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