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Tahoeraa Huiraatira (Political party, French Polynesia)

Last modified: 2018-10-27 by ivan sache
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Flag of Tahoeraa Huiraatira - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 August 2018

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Presentation of Tahoeraa Huiraatira

Tahoeraa Huiraatira (People's Rallying; website) was established in 1977 by Gaston Flosse (b. 1931), who has been since then constantly re-elected president of the party.
In 1958, Flosse joined in 1958 UT-UNR (Union tahitienne-Union pour la nouvelle République), the local branch of the Gaullist movement, which he presided in 1971 following the resignation of Rudy Bambridge. Succeeding UT-UNR, Tahoeraa Huiraatira was subsequently closely associated with RPR, Jacques Chirac's party, Flosse being one of the funding members of RPR.
Flosse served as President of French Polynesia on 1984-1987, 1991-2004, for 4 months in 2004-2005, for 2 months in 2008, 2013-2014). He was also Representative at the French National Assembly (1978-1982, 1993-1997) and Senator of French Polynesia (1998-2014).

Considered by his supporters as the "father of modern Polynesia", Flosse was criticized by his opponents for his authoritarianism and involvement in several corruption affairs that yielded him the nicknames of "Gaston I", "Gaston the Great", "Papa Flosse" or "Old lion". Some of his warmest supporters eventually became fierce opponents who "betrayed" him, expelling him form the presidency, usually for short periods: Alexandre Léontieff (President of French Polynesia from 1987 to 1991) and Gaston Tong Sang (President for 8 months in 2006-2007, for 9 months in 2006-2009, and in 2009-2011). His rivalry with the independentist leader, Oscar Temaru, also contributed to the political instability of French Polynesia in 2004-2011.

In September 2014, Flosse had to resign from the presidency of French Polynesia after having been convicted in one of the several cases that punctuated his long career. He favored the election of Édouard Fritch, his "spiritual son" and former son-in-law, as his successor, but carried on pulling the strings and ruling political life.
In May 2015, Fritch officially supported two dissident candidates against Flosse's candidates in a partial election to the Senate. The dissidents were expelled from Tahoeraa Huiraatira but were easily elected at the first round of the election; this was interpreted as the beginning of the decline of Flosse's total control over French Polynesia. At the same time, the Tapura Huiraatira group was established at the Assembly of Polynesia by 16 dissidents from the Tahoeraa Huiraatira group, which lost the majority to the alliance made by Tapura Huiraatira, A ti’a Porinetia and a dissident from UPLD. On 12 January 2016, Tapura Huiraatira and A ti’a Porinetia groups merged into the Rassemblement pour une majorité autonomiste group (RMA), which allowed Fritch to get rid of Flosse's influence. Transformed in 2016 in a political party, Tapura Huiraatira won 38 out of the 57 seats of the Assembly of Polynesia during the territorial election, leaving only 11 seats (27 lost) to Tahoeraa Huiraatira and 8 (3 lost) to Tavini Huiraatira, Temaru's party. Fritch was re-elected President of French Polynesia on 16 May 2018, increasing his power and speeding up Flosse's decline.
[France Inter, 15 March 2016]

Ivan Sache, 9 August 2018

Flag of Tahoeraa Huiraatira

The flag of Tahoeraa Huiraatira (photo, photo, photo) is orange with the party's emblem in the center.
The flag was changed recently, the emblem being derived from the former one.

The main element of the emblem is the fei, a strong symbol of unity and rallying, as well as of Polynesian life.
Tumu fei, a banana tree specific to Polynesia, went with Polynesians in their ancestral journeys, since it is easily grown by shoot cuttings and its abundant fruits are a staple food. As opposed to the usual banana tree, tumu fei growths straight to the sky; it is more resistant because it is deeper rooted in the soil, and can be identified through its luxury canopy and its very green and shining leaves.
Tari fei (the bunch of bananas) proudly raises in the center of the plant; it symbolizes the united people - every fei is firmly attached to the central stem (tira, or mast). The numerous, squeezed fruits can also be seen as Tahoeraa Huiraatira's militants, united around their leaders and especially their chief, President Gaston Flosse.
The fruit is characteristic of the Polynesian islands: nutritious, it is supplied to children at their earliest age, providing them health. Fei is always included in meals, especially in the very cultural maa tahiti. The plant is also used in handicrafts, especially for plaiting, and as a medicinal plant.
With a strong identity character, fei represents the Polynesian roots.

Orange, the color of fei, is to everyone the symbol of Tahoeraa Huiraatira; in the color's language, orange represents dynamism, vigor and safety.

The party logo synthesizes its name, emblem and color, with elements added:
- the rainbow, to the French colors on the left side and the Polynesian colors on the right side, recalls the indefeasible link with France. The rainbow also represents the alliance between the Polynesian islands and the Polynesians of any origin.
- the blue waves represent the Polynesian archipelagos scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
The whole is surrounded by the name of the movement; Tahoeraa Huiraatira protects the Polynesians through the values it defends and through its action for the country.
[Party website]

In the new logo, the fei is less prominent, with the party's name and motto (Amour - Service - Humilité) written beneath. The rainbow has been replaced by a sail emerging from the sea charged with the emblem of French Polynesia - the tricolor reference to France has been dropped.

The distinguishing characteristics of fei bananas are the erect fruit bunches and red sap, which sets it apart from other cultivated bananas. Bananas in this section are important for food and fiber and a valuable red dye obtained from the pseudo-stems.
[M. Pillay, G. Ude, C. Kole, Eds. 2012. Genetics, genomics and breeding of bananas]

Ivan Sache, 9 August 2018

Former flag of Tahoeraa Huiraatira


Former flag of Tahoeraa Huiraatira - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 13 February 2005

The former flag of Tahoeraa Huiraatira was horizontally divided urange-white-orange (1:2:1) with the party's emblem in the middle. The similarity of this flag with the flag of French Polynesia was, of course, not coincidental.
The color and (former) emblem of the party are described in Article 3 of the party's Statutes (text), last amended on 28 November 2015, as follows:

The color of Tahoeraa Huiraatira is orange.
Its emblem was prescribed by the party's Territorial Congress held on 12 and 13 March 1982.

Ivan Sache, 9 August 2018


Another flag of Tahoeraa Huiraatira - Image by James Dignan, 14 February 2005

Last night's TV news showed another flag of Tahoeraa Huiraatira, with the central emblem in black on a plain orange field.

James Dignan, 14 February 2005