Security hired for the YWAM land dispute

Wednesday January 08, 2020 Written by Published in Local
Cook Islands Security officer Rangimarie William at the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) Cook Islands in Titikaveka yesterday. 20010718 Cook Islands Security officer Rangimarie William at the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) Cook Islands in Titikaveka yesterday. 20010718

Security officers were called in to “keep peace” amid fears landowners would take over the Youth with a Mission property, in a dispute over unpaid rents.

Security guards were stationed at the property for the past five days – but last night, a YWAM official said lawyers from both parties had met and sorted things out.

Chris Denny, the director of Cook Islands Security, confirmed his staff were stood down yesterday afternoon, after guarding the property since Friday last week.

They were hired by YWAM to maintain peace amid the disagreement between the landowners and the Mission, he said.

They had been there five days, he added, until the parties came to a happy arrangement yesterday.

In October last year, the High Court ordered YWAM Cook Islands to vacate their premises after the court cancelled the remaining 35 years on their lease, due to unpaid rent. The landowners reportedly gave the Mission two months to vacate.

However the Mission appealed the matter which irked the landowners who started demanding them to vacate the premises.

Subsequently, Cook Islands Security was called in to look after the staff and the Mission property and prevent the locks being changed, as talks between the two parties started.

Land agent Travis Moore earlier said the orders for YWAM Cook Islands to vacate their premises were due to unpaid commercial lease rent of more than $300,000.

The land was originally leased in 1994 for a term of 60 years. The land is almost one hectare and built on it is two houses and the big two story Mission building.

Youth with a Mission leaders first received an eviction notice in December 2018 and again in February this year.

Last year, the leaders of the Mission said they had no idea about the back rent they were owing.

They also said they could not afford to pay the rent and made negotiations to surrender parts of the land to compensate for the rent owed.

Mission leaders Volley Tangiataua and his wife Pamela Sue, who joined the organisation in 2018, earlier said they were shocked to find out about the back rent.

Tangiataua earlier said the Mission properties on the land were valued at $2.2 million. They thought they could sell the remaining 35-year lease and property to pay back the rent and have a little left over to find a new ministry centre.

“It’s not right, that we don’t get anything from these buildings,” Tangiataua said.

Tangiataua was unavailable for an interview yesterday as he is on Mangaia for an unveiling ceremony.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Terapii Wednesday, 08 January 2020 15:49 posted by Terapii

    Yes gud on us crummers for fighting our land back about time.

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