Remote island marred by incest and rape needs teacher

Last updated 00:00 22/09/2007
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CHEQUERED HISTORY: Pitcairn Island is searching for someone with a sense of adventure to teach on a tiny and remote Pacific island famous as a mutineers' refuge and for a history of incest and rape.

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Wanted: Someone with a sense of adventure to teach on a tiny and remote Pacific island famous as a mutineers' refuge and for a history of endemic incest and rape.

The job of teacher is up for grabs on Pitcairn Island, one of the world's most isolated communities and, with just 55 residents, one of the smallest.

Inhabited largely by the descendants of the HMAS Bounty mutineers, Pitcairn lies between New Zealand and Peru and is one of Britain's last remaining overseas territories, administered from Wellington.

More recently, Pitcairn became infamous for a 2004 court case which exposed sex crimes among the small population dating back decades.

"It's a perfectly nice, well established, little island community," Deputy Commissioner Evan Dunn, from the Pitcairn Islands Office in Auckland, said yesterday.

"We are looking for people with a sense of adventure and excitement and commitment to teaching in a small school and getting involved with the children, both inside and outside school hours, and with the community, too."

Those applying for the teaching position are advised to have a loved one to take with them, says Mr Dunn.

"To be putting anyone in a remote location you tend to want them to go as a couple.

"Unique in its situation and its isolation, it's self-sufficient and well provided for and anyone who goes out there enjoys it. It's not Robinson Crusoe Island," he said.

Mr Dunn said 10 people had already applied for the two-year, tax free posting, paying a salary of $NZ75,000.

"We explain the island is isolated. We look for people who are independent, not so much the average city dweller," Mr Dunn said.

"Australians and New Zealanders have that sort of character that's quite used to outdoor living. That's the sort of people we're looking for."

Fletcher Christian led nine Bounty mutineers, six Tahitian men, and eleven Tahitian women to the island in 1789.

Many of the mutineers' descendants later resettled on Norfolk Island.

Some Bounty descendants were involved in a 2004 court case, in which three judges shipped in from New Zealand found six Pitcairn men guilty of 32 child sex crimes over a 40-year period.

The crimes included rape, incest and indecent assault against girls from the age of seven.

The then mayor Steve Christian was convicted of five rapes on girls as young as 11. The mayor's son Randy was convicted of four rapes and five indecent assaults.

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The convicted men's appeals were rejected last year and the men are imprisoned in an island jail built during the trial.

Pitcairn may be remote, but it has broadband internet, satellite television and supplies arrive every three months.

There is a jetty, but no port, and local men in long boats bring people and supplies in through the island's Bounty Bay to Adamstown, the capital, which boasts one paved road.

Forms for the education officer position can be found at the Pitcairn Island Office website.

Applications close on September 30.

- AAP

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