Oscar Temaru


Oscar Manutahi Temaru (born November 1, 1944) is a French politician. He has been President of French Polynesia (président de la Polynésie française), an overseas collectivity of France, on five occasions: in 2004, from 2005 to 2006, from 2007 to 2008, in 2009, and from 2011 to 2013 and mayor of Faa'a since 1983.

Oscar Temaru
President Oscar Temaru.jpg
President of French Polynesia
In office
April 1, 2011 – May 17, 2013
Preceded byGaston Tong Sang
Succeeded byGaston Flosse
In office
12 February – 25 November 2009
Preceded byGaston Tong Sang
Succeeded byGaston Tong Sang
In office
September 13, 2007 – February 23, 2008
Preceded byGaston Tong Sang
Succeeded byGaston Flosse
In office
March 3, 2005 – December 26, 2006
Preceded byGaston Flosse
Succeeded byGaston Tong Sang
In office
June 14 – October 23, 2004
Preceded byGaston Flosse
Succeeded byGaston Flosse
Personal details
Born (1944-11-01) November 1, 1944 (age 77)
Faa'a, Tahiti, French Polynesia, France
Political partyTavini Huiraatira


He first served as the President of French Polynesia (président de la Polynésie française) from June 15, 2004 until his Government lost a no-confidence motion on October 8, 2004. He was the caretaker President for two weeks after that, but was forced to give up the presidency until March 2005, when he was reelected after parliamentary by-elections.

He is leader of the five party coalition Union For Democracy, which includes his pro-independence party Tavini Huiraatira (People's Servant Party) and other smaller parties that support autonomy for French Polynesia rather than independence. Those parties unexpectedly defeated supporters of long-time leader Gaston Flosse in the May 2004 parliamentary elections.

On October 8, 2004, his government was censured and ousted by the Parliament, the Assembly of French Polynesia (Assemblée de la Polynésie française) by a vote of 29 to 28. There were calls for the French Government to step in and hold new elections, and allegations by the French Socialist Party that his Government was subject to acts of "methodical destabilisation" on the part of the French government. Gaston Flosse was re-elected President by the Assembly in a simple majority vote on October 22. The President of the Assembly, Antony Géros, cast doubt on the legitimacy of this election saying the vote for President (président de la Polynésie française) should occur on October 25 (see French Polynesia political crisis 2004). As a compromise, by-elections were set for February 13, 2005 for certain seats, which Temaru's coalition won. He was re-elected president (président de la Polynésie française) on March 3, 2005.

Temaru lost a vote of no confidence on 13 December 2006, after months of protests against the high cost of living in French Polynesia. Temaru had lost control of parliament due to defections. Gaston Tong Sang won the presidential election on December 26.[1]

Temaru ran for parliament in the 2007 elections, but failed to win a seat.

On September 14, 2007, Temaru was elected as President of French Polynesia for the third time in three years (with 27 of 44 votes). He replaced Tong Sang, who lost a no-confidence vote on August 31.[2]

On 12 February 2009, he was elected president yet again.[3] He fell in a vote of no confidence on 25 November 2009, and was again replaced by Tong Sang.[4]

He became President again on 1 April 2011.[5]

It was under Temaru's presidency that French Polynesia became, in November 2011, a founding member of the Polynesian Leaders Group, a regional grouping intended to cooperate on a variety of issues including culture and language, education, responses to climate change, and trade and investment.[6][7][8]

He was twice elected as the President of the Assembly of French Polynesia from February 2008 to February 2009, and from April 2010 to April 2011.[9]


Temaru was born at Faa'a on the island of Tahiti. He was educated in Faa'a and Papeete, where he received a thorough religious education. He was born to a Tahitian father and a Cook Island Māori mother,[10] and has stated that he has Chinese ancestry.[11][12]

An early political influence was Jean-Marie Tjibaou, philosopher and former leader of the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), who was assassinated in New Caledonia in 1989.

Temaru entered the French Navy for three years in 1961 and participated in the Algerian War of Independence. On his return to French Polynesia, he sat the exam to become a customs officer in Tahiti. In 1983, he retired from this position.

Temaru has been a vocal campaigner against nuclear testing by France at Moruroa and Fangataufa Atolls since the 1970s. His main power base has been in the poor suburb of Faa'a on the outskirts of the capital Papeete.

In 1977, Oscar Temaru formed his political party, the Front for the Liberation of Polynesia (FLP). The party changed its name in 1983 to Tavini Huiraatira (People's Servant Party). The same year he was elected mayor of Faa'a, which position he continues to hold (as of 2004).

In 1986, Tavini Huiraatira obtained two seats in the territorial assembly, four seats in 1991, eleven in 1996, and thirteen in 2001. In 2004 the Union for Democracy Coalition won 27 of the 57 seats.

Temaru's coalition government program in 2004 included the gradual increase of the minimum wage to 150.000 Fcfp, work days that don’t start before 9 am, an improvement of social services, political decentralisation, educational reform, and a revision of the new autonomy statute after French Polynesia was declared a French Overseas Country (pays d'outre-mer) in March 2004.

He pledged there would be no immediate moves to independence.

When asked by an Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter "Most people call this place French Polynesia. What do you call it?" he replied "This is French-occupied Polynesia. That is the truth. This country has been occupied."

Racist comments controversyEdit

In 2007, Temaru was found guilty of "racial discrimination" by the criminal court of Papeete for having referred to the European people living in French Polynesia as "trash", "waste".[13] Temaru has appealed his conviction for racial discrimination.[14]

Conflict of interest convictionEdit

In September 2019, Oscar Temaru was convicted of 'unlawful taking of interests' (prise illégale d'intérêts) by the criminal court of Papeete for exercising undue influence as mayor of Faaa.[15] The court found that under Temaru's watch, the municipality of Faaa had funded to the tune of 150 million Pacific francs (US$1.4 million) a pro-independence community station, Radio Tefana, which relayed the propaganda of Temaru's political party.[16] Oscar Temaru was given a suspended six-month prison sentence and fined 5 million Pacific francs (US$46,500).[16] Temaru has appealed his conviction. The criminal court of appeal was due to hear the case in August 2022.[17]

2007-2008 Presidential CabinetEdit

Oscar Temaru announced his new presidential cabinet on September 19, 2007, shortly after his election as President of French Polynesia.[18] The sixteen cabinet members include three women.

  • Vice-President; Minister of Finance, Housing, Lands, Outer Island Development, in charge of the reform of French Polynesia's Statute and of the relations with the Legislative Assembly and the Economic Social and Cultural Council, government spokesman: Antony Géros
  • Minister for public utilities, land and maritime transport: James Salmon
  • Minister for economy, labor, employment and vocational training, Minister for public service: Pierre Frébault
  • Minister for education, higher education and research: Jean-Marius Raapoto
  • Minister of health, in charge of prevention, food security and traditional medicine: Charles Tetaria
  • Minister for agriculture, forestry and livestock: Léon Lichtlé
  • Minister for sea, fisheries and aquaculture: Keitapu Maamaatuaiahutapu
  • Minister for inter-island maritime and air transports: Dauphin Domingo
  • Minister for tourism and air transports: Marc Collins
  • Minister for development and environment: Georges Handerson
  • Minister for small and medium enterprises, Minister for industry: Gilles Tefaatau
  • Minister for posts and telecommunications, culture: Jacqui Drollet
  • Minister for the pearl farming sector: Michel Yip
  • Minister for solidarity, family affairs and the struggle against social exclusion: Patricia Jennings
  • Minister for youth and sports: Tauhiti Nena
  • Minister for women's affairs, arts and crafts: Valentina Cross

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1] Archived December 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ BBC NEWS, French Polynesia gets new leader
  3. ^ "ABC Radio Australia News:Stories:Oscar Temaru new French Polynesia president". Radioaustralianews.net.au. 2009-02-12.
  4. ^ "French Polynesian assembly votes out Temaru government_English_Xinhua". News.xinhuanet.com. 2009-11-25. Archived from the original on 2012-03-26.
  5. ^ "French Polynesia's Tong Sang ousted by Temaru". Radio New Zealand International. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  6. ^ Andrews, John (19 September 2011). "NZ may be invited to join proposed 'Polynesian Triangle' ginger group". Scoop News. Pacific Scoop News. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  7. ^ "New Polynesian Leaders Group formed in Samoa". Radio New Zealand. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  8. ^ "American Samoa joins Polynesian Leaders Group, MOU signed". Samoa News. Savalii. 20 November 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  9. ^ Le président - Assemblée de la Polynésie française
  10. ^ "Portrait du Président Oscar Manutahi TEMARU". Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
  11. ^ "Logiques " autonomiste " et " indépendantiste " en Polynésie française". Archived from the original on 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  12. ^ Ron Crocombe (2007). Asia in the Pacific Islands. University of the South Pacific, Institute of Pacific Studies. p. 103. ISBN 978-982-02-0388-4.
  13. ^ "French Polynesia: Former president fined over racial slur". Archived from the original on 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  14. ^ "French Polynesia's Temaru appeals racism ruling". Radio New Zealand International. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Temaru gets six-month suspended sentence and $US50k fine". Radio New Zealand. 11 September 2019. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  16. ^ a b "Affaire Radio Tefana : 6 mois de prison avec sursis pour Oscar Temaru, pas d'inéligibilité". Tahiti Nui Television. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  17. ^ "En appel, quatrième renvoi pour l'affaire Radio Tefana". Tahiti Infos. 14 March 2022. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  18. ^ "TEMARU BRINGS BACK TAHITI CABINET MEMBERS". Pacific Islands Report. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
Political offices
Preceded by President of French Polynesia
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of French Polynesia
2005 – 2006
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of French Polynesia
2007 – 2008
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of French Polynesia
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of French Polynesia
2011 – 2013
Succeeded by