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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 11. 1961

• Islanders have problems too

• Islanders have problems too

And of course, as we were to learn, he was largely right. Problems which involve people—problems of social, economic and political development—are complex. All of the Pacific, along with the South-East Asian world, is experiencing similar problems. They are faced with problems that emerge from rapid cultural change. New forms of leadership are still challenged by old forms, new attitudes to land and money still compete with pre-European attitudes. It is a society in transition, divided within itself.

Naturally, the people reflect the disturbing change through which their society is going. Occasionally, the feelings of frustration are channelled on to the administration. Tere (the names are false) whose family, prior to New Zealand administration, possessed high social rank and who has since been displaced by traditionally lesser personages, puts it thus:

"Our family used to have much land. But since the Land Court came other people have taken it from us. The Land Court has cheated us."

Contact with elementary education has brought frustration. Metua, a school teacher of 38 years, who has passed examinations equivalent to standard six, has reached a salary bar of £420 p.a. Although this is high by Cook Islands standards, he nevertheless keenly feels the injustice of having to pass School Certificate to gain a higher salary.

"Why should this be so," he said, "They did not tell us this when we began teaching. They said we would be paid on our experience. My head is too old to pass examinations."

On the other hand, there is the almost universal frustration of the administration, whose efforts at improvement are so often blocked. All too often their response is expressed thus, as one administrator, to whom we showed our project, exclaimed:

"While you're looking at 'attitude to land', you might look at attitude to work as well. You would be getting to the crux of the problem then."

The same thought was expressed by a rather dynamic Maori leader who said to us:

"The Aitutaki people are lazy. They are playing people, not working people."

What do these frustrations mean? On the part of the people, and all too often on the part of the potential Maori leaders, they lead to a focusing of their ambitions outside of their own muddled environment. The voice of Urirau is one among many:

"I have two brothers in New Zealand. They work at Tokoroa and get £20 a week. They send me letters and tell me of the good life in New Zealand. Soon they will send me money for my fare to New Zealand."