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The Pitcairn Island Government

[History of Government & Laws]

Pitcairn Island, claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its "Overseas Territories," was previous to 2002 claimed as a "Dependant Territory" of the United Kingdom. It is governed from the United Kingdom by an appointed Governor whose offices are in Wellington, New Zealand. A Commissioner for the island who handles most on-going, practical matters for Pitcairn is located in Auckland, New Zealand.

On Pitcairn Island there is the Island Council which meets with the island’s Mayor in charge. Under ideal circumstances the Council is in complete charge of governing the island locally. In the last two years, though, there has arisen some tension between the Island Council, representing the Pitcairn people, and the Governor as failures have occurred in seeking the Council’s views on matters that importantly affect Pitcairn’s present and future.

According to the government-published Guide to Pitcairn, “The Council has authority to enact laws of the nature of by-laws which must be notified to the Governor, in whom resides the power of revocation and alteration. In practice, it is rarely that the Council exercises its legislative functions without consulting the Governor before hand and, when it does, alteration is usually confined to textual amendment to make the meaning and intention of the rules legally exact.”

In point of fact, Pitcairn’s Governor has in 2003 issued a flurry of ordinances, regulations, orders, and rules, some of which have been put into effect without counsel with the Pitcairn Island Council. This governance without full consultation has resulted in an exacerbation of tension, the Pitcairn people feeling that their culture and remote island conditions need to be carefully factored into any law or regulation that affects them.

The requirements for voting on Pitcairn Island are three years’ residence and eighteen years of age. Candidates for office must have minimum periods of residence on the island. The electoral role is prepared by the Island Secretary in November of each year. Elections are held annually some time during the first two weeks in December.

Pitcairn Island is held by the United Kingdom to have come under the jurisdiction of the British High Commission for the Western Pacific in 1898, and in 1952 the Pitcairn Island Order in Council transferred the responsibility for administration to the person of the Governor of Fiji, following separation of the offices of Governor and High Commissioner. When Fiji gained independence in 1971 the administration was transferred to Auckland within the jurisdiction of the British High Commissioner to New Zealand who conjointly holds office as Governor of Pitcairn.

On March 4, 2010, a new Constitution for Pitcairn Island came into effect. Then Pitcairn Governor George Fergusson proclaimed the new system of fundamental principles during a visit to Pitcairn Island. According to the Governor, the new Constitution “is better suited to modern-day life and international obligations than its predecessor, the Pitcairn Order 1970.”

The new Constitution, among other provisions, provides an Ombudsman for the Pitcairn people, creates the role and assures the independence of an Attorney General, and includes an obligation for the Island Council to be consulted on all draft legislation. The Constitution came after human rights training had earlier been given the Pitcairn people by the new Commonwealth Foundation to help inform the islanders’ discussions about incorporating rights and freedoms into the Constitution. A steering group of Pitcairners led video-conference discussions with the Governor’s office in Wellington and officials in London.

---Herbert Ford, Pitcairn Islands Study Center

British High Commissioners for the Western Pacific
(Locally represented by the British Consuls in Tahiti who occasionally visited Pitcairn Island.)

1894-1908

Robert Teesdale Simons

1908-1909

Alphonse J. Du Temple, Vice Consul

1909-1911

Arthur Langford Shotto Rowley

1912-1920

H. A. Richards

The British-appointed Governors of Pitcairn Island since 1970 have included:

1970 - 1973

Sir Arthur Norman Galsworthy, (b. 1916)

1973 - 1975

Sir David Aubrey Scott, (b. 1919)

1976 - 1980

Sir Harold Smedley, (b. 1920)

1980 - 1984

Sir Richard Stratton, (b. 1924, d. 1988)

1984 - 1987

Terence Daniel O’Leary, (b. 1928)

1987 - Sep. 1990

Robin Byatt, (b. 1930)

Sep 1990 - 1994

David Moss, (b. 1938)

Aug 1994 - Feb 1998

Robert John Alston, (b. 1938)

Apr 1998 - 2001

Martin Williams, (b. 1941)

Dec 2001 - Mar 2006

Richard Fell, (b. 1948)

Apr 2006 - May 2010

George Duncan Raukawa Fergusson (b. 1955)

May 2010 - Feb 2014

Victoria Marguerite Treadwell

Feb 2014 -

Jonathan Sinclair
Read more about Jonathan Sinclair

Island Officers

Leaders

1790-1793

Fletcher Christian

1793-1800

Edward Young

1800-1829   

John Adams

President

1832-1838    

Joshua Hill

Magistrates

1838 - 1839

Edward Quintal

1840 - 1841

Arthur Quintal I

1842

Fletcher Christian II

1843

Matthew McCoy

1844

Thursday October Christian II

1845 - 1846

Arthur Quintal II

1847

Charles Christian III

1848

George Adams

1849

Simon Young

1850

Arthur Quintal II

1851

Thursday October Christian II

1852

Abraham Blatchly Quintal

1853

Matthew McCoy

1854

Arthur Quintal II

1855 - 1857

George Martin Frederick Young (On Pitcairn & Norfolk)

1858

Isaac Christian (Norfolk Island)

1859

George Martin Frederick Young (Norfolk Island)

1860 - 1861

Thomas Buffett (Norfolk Island)

1862 - 1863

Arthur Quintal II (Norfolk Island)

1864

Thursday October Christian II (Pitcairn Island)

1865 - 1866

Moses Young

1867

Thursday October Christian II

1868

Robert Pitcairn Buffett

1869

Moses Young

1870-1872

James Russell McCoy

1873-1874

Thursday October Christian II

1875

Moses Young

1876-1877

Thursday October Christian II

1878-1879

James Russell McCoy

1880

Thursday October Christian II

1881

Moses Young

1882

Thursday October Christian II

1883

James Russell McCoy

1884-1885

Benjamin Stanley Young

1886-1889

James Russell McCoy

1890-1891

Charles Carleton Vieder Young

1892

Benjamin Stanley Young

Presidents of the Council

1893-1896

James Russell McCoy

1897

William Alfred Young

1898-1904

James Russell McCoy

1904

William Alfred Young

Magistrates

1904-1906

James Russell McCoy

1907

Arthur Herbert Young

1908

William Alfred Young

1909

Matthew Edmund McCoy

1910-1919

Gerard Bromley Robert Christian

1920

Charles R. Parkin Christian

1921

Fred Christian

1922

Charles R. Parkin Christian

1923-1924

Edgar Allen Christian

1925

Charles R. Parkin Christian

1926-1929

Edgar Allen Christian

1930-1931

Arthur Herbert Young

1932

Edgar Allen Christian

1933-1934

Charles R. Parkin Christian

1935-1939

Edgar Allen Christian

1940

Andrew Clarence David Young

1941

Frederick Martin Christian

1942

Charles R. Parkin Christian

1943

Frederick Martin Christian

1944

Charles R. Parkin Christian

1945-1948

Norris Henry Young

1956-1957

Parkin Christian

1958-1959

Warren Christian

1960-1966

John Christian

   

Island Magistrate

1967-1969

Pervis Young

The Island Officers of Pitcairn Island since 1970 have been:

Years

Magistrate

Chair of Internal Comm.

Councilors

1970

Pervis Ferris Young

Len Brown

Christie Warren, Henry Young

1971

Pervis Ferris Young

Cairn Christian

Christie Warren, Gifford Christian

1972

Pervis Ferris Young

Cairn Christian

Gifford Christian, Ivan Christian

1973

Pervis Ferris Young

Henry Young

Gifford Christian, Iaan Christian, Oscar Clark

1974

Pervis Ferris Young

Ivan Christian

Thelma Brown, Carol Christian

1975

Pervis Ferris Young

Ivan Christian

Thelma Brown, Carol Christian

1976

Ivan Christian

Brian Young

Thelma Brown, Steve Christian, Oscar Clark, Floss Young

1977

Ivan Christian

Brian Young

Thelma Brown, Floss Young

1978

Ivan Christian

Brian Young

Thelma Brown, Carol Christian

1979

Ivan Christian

Charles Christian

Thelma Brown, Dobrey Christian

1980

Ivan Christian

Charles Christian

Thelma Brown, Dobrey Christian

1981

Ivan Christian

Charles Christian

Thelma Brown, Lloyd Christian, Warren Christian, Carol Warren

1982

Ivan Christian

Charles Christian

Thelma Brown, Steve Christian, Jay Warren, Vula Young

1983

Ivan Christian

Charles Christian

Thelma Brown, Vula Young

1984

Brian Young

Charles Christian

Thelma Brown, Vula Young

1985

Brian Young

Jay Warren & Steve Christian

Thelma Brown, Meralda Warren

1986

Brian Young

Jay Warren

Carol Warren & Meralda Warren

1987

Brian Young

Jay Warren

Thelma Brown & Carol Warren

1988

Brian Young

Jay Warren

Carol Warren & Vula Young

1989

Brian Young

Jay Warren

Carol Warren & Meralda Warren

1990

Brian Young

Jay Warren

Nola Warren & Betty Christian

1991

Jay Warren

Steve Christian

Carol Warren, Meralda Warren, Kari Young, Dave Brown

1992

Jay Warren

Steve Christian

Clarice Brown, David Brown, Meralda Warren, Kari Young

1993

Jay Warren

Dave Brown

Brian Young, Meralda Warren, Carol Warren, Betty Christian

1994

Jay Warren

Steve Christian

Clarice Brown, Dave Brown, Trent Christian, Pawl Warren

1995

Jay Warren

Steve Christian

Clarice Brown, Dave Brown, Pawl Warren, Carol Warren

1996

Jay Warren

Randall Christian

Clarice Brown, Lea Brown, Pawl Warren, Charles Christian

1997

Jay Warren

Randall Christian

Thomas Christian, Clarice Brown, Lea Brown, Michael Warren

1998

Jay Warren

Steve Christian

Meralda Warren, Lea Brown, Pawl Warren, Carol Warren

1999

Jay Warren

Steve Christian

Lea Brown, Michael Warren, Thomas Christian, Dave Brown

Years

Mayor

Chair of Internal Comm.

Councilors

2000

Steve Christian

Jay Warren

Brenda Christian, Michael Warren, Thomas Christian, Meralda Warren

2001

Steve Christian

Dave Brown

Tom Christian, Meralda Warren, Brenda Christian, Nola Warren

2002

Steve Christian

Jay Warren

Tom Christian, Lea Brown, Nola Warren, Brenda Christian

2003

Steve Christian

Randy Christian

Tom Christian, Meralda Warren, Lea Brown, Carol Warren

2004

Steve Christian

Randy Christian

Lea Brown, Brenda Christian, Thomas Christian, Carol Warren

2005

Jay Warren

Mike Warren

Meralda Warren, Olive Christian, Carol Warren, Lea Brown

2006

Jay Warren

Mike Warren

Meralda Warren, Olive Christian, Carol Warren, Lea Brown

2007

Jay Warren

Mike Warren

Meralda Warren, Olive Christian, Carol Warren, Lea Brown

2008

Mike Warren

Dave Brown

Turi Griffiths, Brenda Christian, Lea Brown, Kari Young

2009

Mike Warren

Jay Warren 

Turi Griffiths, Brenda Christian, Dave Brown, Jaqui Christian

Years

Mayor

Deputy Mayor

Councilors

2010

Mike Warren

Simon Young

Dave Brown, Lea Brown, Brenda Lupton-Christian,Jay Warren

2011

Mike Warren

Simon Young

Dave Brown, Lea Brown, Brenda Lupton-Christian,Jay Warrenn

2012

Mike Warren

Simon Young

Brenda Lupton-Christian, Jacqui Christian, Michelle Christian,Jay Warren, Kerry Young

2013

Shawn Christian

Brenda Christian

Charlene Warren, Darralyn Griffiths, David Brown Michele Christian, Leslie Jaques

Postmasters of Pitcairn Island have included:

  • Roy Clark
  • Oscar Clark
  • Reynold Warren
  • Dennis Christian
  • Brian Young
  • Mavis Warren
  • Dennis Christian (since 1988).

Police Officers of Pitcairn Island have included:

  • Floyd McCoy
  • Vernon Young
  • Kay brown (1984)
  • Ron Christian (1991)
  • Meralda Warren (1996 to April 2001)
  • Brenda Christian (since May 2001).

Radio Officer:

  • Thomas Christian (1955-2000)

Conservation Officer (Forestry):

  • Jacob Warren (1964-1990)
  • Reynold Warren (1990-1996)
  • Jay Warren (1996-2000)

From Guide to Pitcairn, 1999 Edition. Used by permission.
List of Island Officers from 1970 to 2000 provided by Pitcairner Betty Christian.
List of Island Officers since 2000 provided by Pitcairner Mike Warren.

[History of Government & Laws]


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