19 May 2008

Manihiki meeting to help restore order on Cooks atoll

1:37 pm on 19 May 2008

A public meeting will be held on Manihiki in the Cook Islands tonight, aimed at assisting a return to law and order on the atoll.

The police patrol boat, Te Kukupa, has arrived, after being sent by Cabinet which was asked for about 300 thousand US dollars to cover fuel costs.

Two people were arrested after a flight had to be sent back to Rarotonga, when landowners protesting against a land court hearing planted a small coconut tree on the airstrip.

The mayor of Manihiki, Kora Kora, says the boat is anchored near the village where the airport is.

He says he is hoping to have a public meeting with the police superintendent on the boat, and a justice of the peace also on board to discuss further security.

"We want to secure the runway for another aircraft to land on Tuesday, secondly also to secure the offenders that have taken place on Tuesday. And also just to further notify the community that there are no other activities, or that no other landowners would be going on the runway to plant a coconut tree."

Kora Kora says he believed the land court hearing will now be delayed.