Better late than ever, the ancient Polynesian roofless temple or “marae” of Tapuatea has eventually been integrated to the list of the World Heritage Sites in Oceania today. Since the inscription of Easter Island and its giant statues in 1995, the region hasn’t succeeded in obtaining much of the focus of UNESCO until these last years, more precisely since The Pacific 2009 Programme (2000-2009). According to unesco.org, the latter “was elaborated through several regional consultations and the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee Meeting was held in Christchurch in 2007 under the chairmanship of Mr. Te Heuheu, Paramount Chief of the Ngati Tuwharetoa Maori people of New Zealand.”
To this day, there are now a little more than 30 World Heritage sites in Oceania on more than a thousand worldwide. That makes 3% of all World Heritage Sites.
It is quite strange that there are so few in such a huge portion of “island earth”. It is even stranger when you think about the historical cultural wealth of the region, which has left impressive manmade constructions, artifacts and landscapes, some of which are dated half a millenium. Sometimes more.
It seems like there is a lot of work left there and we hope this is only the beginning of a larger recognition of the rich ancient human cultures which blossomed on the shores of our oceanic lands.