Melbourne, June 16 (ANI): French Polynesia President Oscar Temaru has given rise to a controversy by suggesting that the island change its name to the raunchy word for touching a woman's sexual parts.
He has been campaigning for changing French Polynesia's name to Maohi Nui-which refers to the indigenous people of French Polynesia in the language of the archipelago's most famous island, Tahiti-to symbolise increased independence from France.
However, inhabitants of another island group, Marquesas Islands, know Maohi as a raunchy word for touching a woman's sexual parts.
"For Tahitians it is a fine word, but for Marquesans it is very sexual and not really the type of name you want to have to symbolise your country. Imagine Australia renaming itself after something around sex. It just wouldn't happen," News.com.au quoted Alex du Prel, the publisher of Tahiti-Pacifique magazine, as saying.
It was in the mid 1960s that French Oceania was renamed French Polynesia. However, debate has raged in recent years over the need to give a new name to signal a move towards independence.
Temaru, who leads the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party, insists that the name he has suggested enhances cultural identity.
Opposition leader Edouard Fritch, who supports autonomy from France, has suggested Tahiti Nui as a replacement, an option Mr du Prel says is far more "sensible".
"Everyone in the world knows the word Tahiti. They know what it is and where it is, so any name we pick must include it," he said.
"If we chose a name like Maohi Nui we'll have the world saying what is that? Where is that?
"That's throwing to the wind billions of dollars of public relations, all on the whim of the president," he added.
The president said that he was considering holding a referendum on the topic, but French Polynesia would not be an option. (ANI)