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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 14. 1967.

C. Island's Pm Talks To Students

page 3

C. Island's Pm Talks To Students

"The Generation of people trying to build up my country today are the generation who only had standard two education," said Cook Islands' Premier, Mr. Albert Henry, at Victoria recently.

Albert Henry

Albert Henry

"This doesn't mean they can't think, but they have difficulty in understanding what is going on outside their reef. They know what they want for the Cook Islands but don't know how to fit this in with the rest of the world. The only book they read regularly is the Bible, and that doesn't tell them what is happening in Vietnam or Egypt or Palestine."


Recounting the political development of this "lot of small islands scattered over a wide ocean" to their present status of a self-governing but integral part of New Zealand, Mr. Henry said. "The South Pacific territories now are trying to decide what kind of government they want. They have been watching our form of government. They thought it wouldn't work; but it is working.

"Today the constitution says we can run our own affairs," said the Premier. "There is no longer a resident commissioner, but there are two things which New Zealand does look after for us; our foreign affairs and our defence.


"We can make our own laws about everything else. If there is a law which New Zealand made in the past that we don't like we throw it out, and this is what we have been doing in the last two sessions.

"I can foresee the time when our financial dependence on New Zealand support will be cut down to an absolute minimum," he said. "When New Zealand was running the place they could spend the money. but now that we are running the place they give or lend us the money and we have the full right to spend it however we like."

Commenting on the Cook Islands' early history Mr. Henry said, "The missionaries thought more of their church than the islands and the people themselves. They destroyed most of the arts of the people.


"The missionaries did do one good job." he conceded. "They changed the people from liking to eat people to liking to eat other things like pork and chicken.

"I don't know whether that was a political change or a social change," he quipped. "It was probably a matter of taste."

Said the Premier "In New Zealand's present economicset-back you might say 'why do we have this little buggy hooked on to our cart? Our horses are getting tired and can't even pull our own cart. why should we have that little trailer too?' I believe that with the will of God you will be able to pull both carts."