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Wednesday, 18th February, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

# Over the last few months there's been a spate of negative press about the future of Pitcairn Island. Most of these have been from UK publications. The two most recent that I've come across are:

Most of these put the blame on the isolation of the island, lack of jobs and the trials that occurred 10 years ago.

Wikipedia even has a section on the potential extinction, although that has opinion presented as fact. For example, it cites the diaspora survey showing only three people in the responses expressing a desire to return and then states "This may be partially attributable to the 2004 sexual assault trials which has caused many emigrants to be ashamed...". The "...may be..." with no cite shows it's the thoughts of the wikipedia editor who added it, not the actual results of the survey itself.

I was one of the 33 responders in the diaspora survey. In my case it was not any "ashamed of their heritage" that was the issue. One of the points I noted in my survey response was that there is a protection order on the island that makes it difficult for families to bring children. Anyone who has tried to get a visa to the island to take children can attest to the difficulty of that process.

I made a point on the survey that to encourage people to return they need to have a timeline in place for when the protection order will be lifted or some other process by which people moving to the island can understand that there is a future in which it will be lifted. People like to travel with their families.

I'd also like to note that the survey was not just for residents who had left the island but was also for their descendants. I believe that the low response rate for the survey was due to mistrust amongst many with how the survey would be used and the information that it contained.

Also from that wikipedia section:

Also exacerbating any hope that immigration will replenish the island population is xenophobia among the residents.

From my trip there in 2012 I found the islanders very warm and welcome. There was no "xenophobia" that the wikipedia article states is an impeding factor for immigration. There is no evidence or cite given for this statement and it seems intended to discourage people from having a positive view of Pitcairn. This section of the wikipedia page was originally written by wikipedia user JBarta. Most of the recent edits in this section seem to be made by an IP address associated with a UK immigration lawyer.

Please don't use the negative press as your main source of information about Pitcairn. Consider visiting the island as a tourist and spending some time there. Reach out to islanders via email or contact from their websites. For information on immigrating to Pitcairn Island there is a FAQ on the Pitcairn Immigration site. More information is available in the Repopulation Plan (PDF).

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emacs Copyright © 2015 by Chris <chris@pitcairnnews.co.nz>