Fighting for the outer islands

Tuesday June 11, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor
Fighting for the outer islands

Dear Editor,

The prime minister in Parliament yesterday blamed lawyers in the private sector for the delay in the payment of compensation to landowners in the Northern Group whose lands were taken by warrant by the government to construct the solar power stations.

 

The delay was actually the result of taking land by warrant first before sorting out who the landowners are, and what their land boundaries are, and therefore what their entitlements are. So the blame should be on him and the government for not doing the basics first.

The prime minister was advised in a meeting a couple of months ago that a number of landowners had contested the first lot of boundaries, which are those the government drew up and relied upon.

Therefore, the lengthy process of determination of relative interests of all landowners – on just one piece of land on Manihiki, literally in the thousands. Essentially what the government did was create a mess for private sector lawyers to clean up.

The PM should bear in mind, private lawyers engaged by landowners were not there to meet the expectations of the government and make him look good but to look after the interests of all landowners.

Wilkie Rasmussen, president, Cook Islands Law Society

Contributions worth more than a few words

Dear Editor,

I would like to add my own congratulations to those who have recently received high awards, particularly Pae Puna and Ewan Smith, two magnificent men whose work and humanity set a worldwide example of how local and immigrant citizens of a country can live peacefully, respectfully and purposefully together.

In Pae’s case, I would like to congratulate him on the kindness and humanity with which he always conducted affairs in the Public Service. In my own case, I am deeply grateful for his letter of 1989 when I resigned from the Cook Islands Public Service. I still keep it and it keeps me going all the time, far from home.

Especially one paragraph: “I know we are losing a valuable service from you, but the time has come for you to give prior consideration to family commitments.”

The humanity and understanding in those words to me summed up Pae’s work as a Cook Islands government official in setting the true meaning of being an immigrant Cook Islander, and I read them always when the struggle of still  helping my family gets too hard to take and I long to be back home in Ivirua.

As for Ewan … one of our greatest immigrant citizens ever...

Without him, we would never have succeeded in setting up 6th Form Colleges in Mangaia and Atiu because of the regular and often free access to Rarotonga Ewan offered.

Without him we also would never have succeeded in becoming a gold medallist in the 1979 NZ National Schools Championships.

Those were  his contributions to education, sports, business, trade, multi-racialism and the future of our country, above all for outer islanders who cannot enter the modern world without aircraft. And there was what Ewan provided in person with attention to our needs.In the typical Ewan way, it was largely unpublicised.

In my case, it enabled my eldest son to complete his MA on Atiu and later become a Professor at Auckland University; my second son to become the secretary of CINOC, my daughter to become a leading  authority on Cook Islands culture in Britain, my granddaughters to represent the Cook Islands in international sport, my stepson and step daughter to succeed overseas and return home and my step-granddaughter to come to me as a disabled cerebral palsy baby at eight months to be ready soon to return home as a Cook Islands woman of 16 years.

They all made their first move to success on Air Rarotonga. 

So, I thank Pae and Ewan for their example, professional skills  and friendship over all these years. They deserve far more than a passing paragraph.

David Lewis

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