That was especially so when I thought about the creation of the Punanga Nui after the original market which used to be opposite the CITC main store in town, was closed down.
As a security officer on the premises at the time, I didn’t really take note of what was said by the then prime minister, Sir Geoffrey Henry, about the intentions behind the creation of the Punanga Nui.
But I was reminded listening to the Queen’s Representative’s speech that the place was created for our local people to bring and sell their goods, and without paying tax.
It hurts my feelings to see that now, large areas of the market are occupied by big businesses and two of them in particular, were mentioned on the day by some of the people present for the anniversary commemoration.
My mind and my feelings went back to our local people trying to sell their goods on the side of the road from Arorangi, Nikao, Panama, Avatiu and Upper Tupapa, perhaps because of the lack of space at the Punanga Nui.
What I have heard, though I have not been able to confirm this, is that every seller, small or big, is being charged, even for selling their goods from the roadside at Avaitu.
I visit Punanga Nui quite often and see our local mamas struggling to get money for their produce. I now ask the minister in charge of the market to ask the large companies to move back to their big shops and leave the Punanga Nui market area so that those forced to sell their produce on the roadside can take their place.
I have no hard feelings towards the big businesses who have set up at the Punanga Nui, but I do feel for those who have to sell their produce from the roadside.
If I am wrong, please enlighten me. Maybe the people who sell from the roadside do this by choice.