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FROM SUNNY TAHITI.

A CHAT. WITH Pv. T. SIMONS,

Auckland's \iaitovs now is' plr R. T. Simons, who for the past 14 yen r.s ha s been His Majesty's consul at Tthiti ,smd is now en. route to take up a I I similar position at Soumea, Sew Caledonia. During that 14 years ITr .Simons has witnessed many changes of international import in the Eastern Pacific, and could, were his Jips not closed by reason of his office, say many things no doubt, respecting the international game of chess in that interesting sphere of action. But a member of the diplomatic service is a close and faithful servant of the King, and as such may not always give utterance to the thoughts that stir within him. On several points of general interest, however, our visitor was wining to communicate, and in reply to a "Star" interviewer to-day he imparted some facts about his recent home that may not be general property. ''Tahiti, of course, has been for two or three years suffering from commercial depression," Raid he, "but things are now looking up, in no little sense due to the discovery of phosphates on the Island of Alakatea, about 120 miles north of Tahiti. The island is supposed to contain anything between 20 and 30 million tons of highgrade phosphates, and the working of the beds will mean a big matter to the general trade of the colony, and should certainly result in a greatly increased purchasing power by the inhabitants." Any increased purchasing power of the Pacific peoples naturally affects New Zealand, and in reply u> another question. Mr Simons explained that the United States absorbs about 50 per cent, of Tahiti's trade, while Great "Britain and Xew Zealand between them account for about 30 per cent... two-thirds of which comes to the Dominion. Of the remainder, France gets about 10 per cent, and Germany at present the trifling balance. Tahiti's trade is not a very big thing, however, and of late years has not shown much disposition to advance, owing to the small and comparatively stationary number of Europeans in the colony. It amounts in all to about £350,000 a year. As far as we are concerned, New Zealand has now a practical monopoly of the trade in tinned meats, which ten years ago were all obtained from the United States, and butter, besides a large proportion of such lines of supply as fodder, tinned milk, etc. This tinned meat import amounts to about 200 tons a year, while some 80 tons of butter are also imported, most of which goes from Auckland, remarked our visitor. Great Britain's share includes such articles as muslins, corrugated iron, laces and the monopoly in supplying an article of native clothing called parea in Tahiti and barfts in England. Seven years ago Mr Simons annexed to the British Crown Henderson or Elizabeth Island, which lies about 1300 miles south of Tahiti and 200 miles south of Piteairn Island. Recently this island has been found to contain" highgrade phophates. and hopes are entertained that in tho. near future it will turn out very profitable. At the present time an Edinburgh syndicate is making arrangements to work it. Notwithstanding a term of exile, amounting to something like 33 years trom the Old Country, spent entirely in the tropics—the East Coast of Africa, Ked Sea. India, and Tahiti, to be correct—Mr Simons has lost nothing of his British vigour, and looks forward to liis sojcfiirn in New Caledonia, which is at present a physical terra incognita to him, with all the cheerful speculation of a yiung man. During his stny in Auckland, he has been a guest at "the Central Tlotol. and leaves for his new sphere of action by the Sydney boat this evening.

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FROM SUNNY TAHITI. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 92, 19 April 1909

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