It’s too little, too late, for outer islands

Monday August 27, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor
Children play in the water at Te Tautua village on Penrhyn. 18082620 Children play in the water at Te Tautua village on Penrhyn. 18082620

Dear Editor,

Mata McNair’s reply to my letter (Aug 22nd) sounded somewhat legalistic, almost like a lawyer wrote it.

I live here alright, for the moment. In fact, I have lived here probably longer than either Mr or Mrs McNair, so I have seen a thing or two in this country. All they know is what has happened to this country in the past eight to 10 years since they returned from the USA.

So what if current revenue reports from the government say that most of this country’s revenue is generated on Rarotonga?

That is because Rarotonga has developed at the expense of the outer islands, so yes they/we think it’s our turn to reap some of the benefits. Call it a sense of entitlement if you must, but it doesn’t change the fact the outer islands have only just started reaping a tiny sum of those benefits. Too little, too late it seems.

McNair says no-one has to live in the outer islands if they don’t want to, but for many it’s not a choice. They don’t have the good fortune to be born on Rarotonga (and therefore own land here); housing on Rarotonga is unaffordable to most outer islanders. Unless of course the McNairs are offering them places to stay on their substantial holdings at Muri and Avatiu?

Utu Panu is the insult reserved for outer islands immigrants to Rarotonga, "floating utu seed" ie, landless people.

This is the welcome I, and others like me, have received here, so yes I know what it’s like to be an outer islander living in our nation’s capital.

Still, we put up with it because life here is decidedly better than in the outer islands. Like that Maori woman and the obscene word in the New Zealand news a few weeks ago, I am taking the insult back.

            Utu Panu

            (Name and address supplied)

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