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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 25. October 8, 1968

Tokolauans a contented lot

Tokolauans a contented lot

A Faithful Hound guards the precincts of the University.

A Faithful Hound guards the precincts of the University.

"They are probably one of the few contented people left in the world."

Mr McEwan of the Maori and Island Affairs Department summed up his general impression of the Tokolau Islands and people.

He, with Dr Evans of the Wellington Hospital Medical Unit and Mr D. Boardman (right) a lecturer in sociology at Victoria, was addressing a symposium of the Royal Society of New Zealand on the Tokolau Islands.

Photo of D. Boardman

page 16

Mr McEwan gave general details of the Tokolaus — their position, size, population, and products.

He then outlined their possible problems in the future.

In particular this involved overcrowding — the islands cover only four square miles of land and have a population of 1,900.

This was being met with emigration to Samoa, to the Cooks, but particularly to New Zealand.

Mr McEwan outlined the pilot scheme of assisted migration, under which 252 people have come to this country.

The scheme has met a great many problems, he concluded, particularly with the economic recession but the Tokolauans were rapidly integrating and inter-marrying into the rest of the New Zealand community.

Dr Evans outlined the aims and work of thc recent medical team in the islands.

This had had two aims he said: Long term halth surveillance of the islanders and scientific study of the social, physical and mental effects of the transition from a simple to an urban society.

As part of his study at the University. Mr Boardman mentioned that he was interested in the migrant Tokolau communities in the Wellington area.

He had found that the islands had had remarkable close-knit communities, where communication between people was extremely easy, and where money was only peripheral to the main business of life.

Any problems they had after migrating lo New Zealand stemmed from these characteristics of Tokolauan society.

In particular these included difficulties in handling money and of communicating with their New Zealand neighbours.

"They do not want to be 'instant Kiwis,' " he said, "but they are proud to Be New Zealand citizens, and are trying to follow our patterns of life."