Twenty years ago, in partnership with the French government, the government inaugurated the “Land Issues Settlement Court”, a legal entity specializing in the resolution of land disputes.
After a long incubation period, and an even longer period of demands, the land issues in Tahiti finally seemed settled! Indeed, after the turmoil of the colonial era and the introduction of new rules, exogenous from the Polynesian traditions, a new system was trying to settle and clear the files piled up for generations that prevented the coherent and sustainable management of terrestrial spaces of our islands.
This step was fundamental to finally try to return to a healthy situation of the management of the land, to limit the family conflicts, the persistent claims and to give more clarity on the situation of a rare and precious inherited patrimony, more and more important with the rising seas.
But, despite the obvious success and the need for such a step, land management was far from having to stop there. This was equivalent to providing drugs to limit the consequences of a disease without seeking to cure it permanently.
Because, in the face of economic development and the increasing demand for land to cope with demographic growth (although relatively slower in our islands than in other parts of the world), the need to pursue local economic development out of the “counter economy” in order to finally offer sustainable jobs was relying on the efficient use of the land.
In fact, this constant demand for land in the face of a tradition that places a great deal of importance on the necessary conservation of ancestral lands has continued to create conflicts, claims and difficulties.
Managing the liabilities was necessary but not sufficient. Moreover, giving an official entity the decision as to the distribution of land was not satisfactory in itself. It was necessary to go even further and find a system that would give people the ability to take advantage of their land without having the only way out of selling it to a third party (local or external).
This solution has, once again, been slow to emerge. It was necessary to discuss, exchange, consult the specialists in Polynesian culture, lawyers, genealogists ... in short all the actors concerned so that a new tool is now available.
Although not revolutionary in itself, this new regulatory system will give landowners the opportunity to participate in the implementation of an economic project without losing their family or ancestral rights.
The new regulation adopted gives the possibility of creating a real estate investment fund that offers the land in exchange for a stake in a private entity in shareholding. From then on, the owner of the land is part-stakeholder of the project. Against the guarantee of a durable occupation and the necessary amicable resolution of all the conflicts (to prevent the changes of unwanted opinion and the risk of major investments), the owners will not receive rents but the dividends from the exploitation a project carried on their land.
The land will not be transferable by law or even "exploited" in the financial sense of the term: it only allows, summoned to authorization, an economic project which, in return for the occupation, gives profits and power of decision to the owners . They have the possibility to get help from advisers, specifically trained in this new provision and having both legal knowledge and certified culture.
The advantage of this system, which can be exported in the region, is that it can be applied to family lands as well as to community lands managed in ancestral way. This gives the opportunity to those who wish to resume the collective management schemes of yesteryear.
So land becomes a tool for growth of individuals and no longer simply a dormant heritage to give in order to reap the benefits.
Hope this device will be successful!