Teacher wanted: must be willing to relocate to Earth's end

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 September, 2007, 12:00am

One of the smallest and remotest remnants of the former British empire is looking for a new teacher, but only the adventurous and self-sufficient need apply.

Pitcairn Island, a speck in the Pacific Ocean halfway between New Zealand and South America, has a population of just 45.

Inhabited by the descendants of the Bounty mutineers, it is one of Britain's last remaining overseas territories and is administered by the British High Commission in New Zealand.

It became notorious in 2004 after investigations by British police found decades of sexual abuse of minors, with male islanders regarding girls as young as 11 as fair game.

Deep scars were left by the subsequent trials, in which six men were found guilty of 32 child-sex crimes over 40 years. They are imprisoned in the island's newly built jail.

'We're looking for people with a sense of adventure and excitement and commitment to teaching in a small school,' said deputy commissioner Evan Dunn, from the Pitcairn Islands Office in Auckland.

'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.

Applicants are advised to have a partner they can take with them. 'To be putting anyone in a remote location you tend to want them to go as a couple,' Mr Dunn said.

Although class sizes will be small, remembering pupils' names could be a challenge. As descendants of the Bounty mutineers, the islanders share a small number of surnames, such as Christian (after chief mutineer Fletcher Christian), Quintal and Adams.

Ten people have applied for the two-year, tax-free posting, which will pay GBP27,000 (HK$425,000) a year.

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

After leading a mutiny against captain William Bligh on board the Bounty, first mate Fletcher Christian sailed nine mutineers, six Tahitian men and 11 Tahitian women to the island in 1789. They were searching for a place so isolated that it would enable them to evade British justice indefinitely.

More than two centuries later, Pitcairn has broadband internet and satellite television. Supplies arrive by ship every three months.

There is no airport or sea port, so local men in long boats transfer people and supplies to a jetty.

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