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Tuvalu community discuss possible changes to constitution

07 July 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

Voting rights, climate change and the preservation of the Tuvalu language and culture, were some of the topics discussed at a series of meetings over the past week, between the Tuvalu community and the Tuvalu Constitutional Review Consultation project team visiting New Zealand.

Tuvalu Chairman of the CRC Secretariat, Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi, says the mission was to hear the views and thoughts of their people, who have been living abroad for a very long time.

He says they were interested to hear how they see Tuvalu in 2017, with particular reference to the countries 40-year-old constitution.

Tuvalu community at a discussion to revise their constitution. Photo Credit: Fala Haulangi.

Tausi says there are parts of the constitution that require change, so it’s important people have their say.

“It was good to hear the views and insights from the people, who are very passionate about what is happening back home.

“People talked about maintaining the Tuvalu language and tradition and how they can look after the traditions while in New Zealand.”

Tausi says climate change will always be a priority for Tuvalu and people were keen to hear about the work being done to raise awareness about the impact it has on the islands.

"It’s important to talk about the needs and challenges that matter most for our Tuvalu people," he says.

The Constitutional Review Committee included the Review Officer Rt. Hon Bikenibeu Paeniu, Attorney-General Laigane Italeili Talia and the Clerk to Parliament Andrew Puga Semeli.

Tuvalu's Constitutional Review Committee in Auckland this week. Photo Credit: Fala Haulangi.

The team spent time in Wellington with the Tuvalu community in Porirua.

Tausi says they are grateful for all the ideas and feedback they received. He says while many of the Tuvalu people have New Zealand citizenship, they still want to be included in what's happening back home.

Those who attended the meetings discussed the possibility of voting in the countries general elections.

Tausi says it was a sentiment not only shared from the Tuvalu people in New Zealand, but also those living in Fiji and Australia.

“We will take all the information and compile it in a report for the Tuvalu select committee of Parliament, to consider for possible inclusion into the parts of the constitution.”

The team returned to Tuvalu yesterday and a draft report is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Tags: Tuvalu, climate change, Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi,