Rather than befitting a nation about to gain “developed” status, grubby Avarua is testament to the sloppy and haphazard way this country is run.
The rundown and in some case dangerous buildings in our main town show the world that we really don’t care about appearances and being tidy, and that we have scant regard for history.
I don’t really understand why unused buildings like the old hardware store are simply left to rot away and become hazards during the cyclone season. I’m guessing it has something to do with the mind-boggling complications of multiple ownership land and the owners’ lack of will or money to fix these buildings or demolish them completely.
Some of the buildings look particularly bad from the outside but it’s not until you step inside that you realise many are just as grotty on the inside, and they’re often dusty and untidy. One shop I have to patronise sometimes has stock so old it’s covered in dust and when you pick it up you end up with dirt on your clothes. Generally, it’s also next to impossible to park outside these places without running the risk of getting run down by a passing car or bike.
But to me, one of the saddest sights, apart from the rapidly deteriorating palace, which used to be a vibrant focus of community activity back in the day, is the old colonial villa where the late Ted Nia used to live.
If it was restored and brought back from the brink of ruin, this residence could be kept as a wonderful example of a long-gone era and even be put to use as a tourist attraction, perhaps. It has had no visible maintenance and is rapidly rotting away.
Soon it may be too late and it will be gone forever, but no-one seems to care about these things. Maybe it’s because it’s becoming increasingly trendy now in some quarters to decry our “colonialist” past, and historic reminders of it are no longer PC.
The buildings next to the palace boundary pictured in CI News on Wednesday are a total disgrace and some of the worst in town, but there are others that are just as bad.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a colourful, forward-thinking and flourishing Avarua – a capital “city” that we could all take pride in. With the right will and plenty of hard work, it could easily be upgraded without destroying what remains of its charm and character. Perhaps Mark Brown could put some of that extra money he reckons the government has saved, into helping the landowners get their act together.
Avarua could be such a charming and pretty little town, and if some real effort was put into making it look nicer, I’m sure tourists would be more inclined to spend more time there – and spend more money.
So come on landowners and shop owners, what do you think?
Towns Need Love Too
(Name and address supplied)