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Files on 1955 disappearance of passengers

Monday 18 August 2008

Files on 1955 disappearance of passengers and crew on Tokelau-bound vessel released in annual restricted file review

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will today release more than 1500 previously restricted files for public access, as part of its ongoing programme of reviewing and releasing classified material.

The files cover a wide range of topics and date mainly from the 1940s to the 1970s.
All the newly released files can be found at Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office from Monday.

The material being released covers a wide range of subjects and includes a significant collection of files from the old Department of Island Territories, and its successor Department of Maori and Island Affairs.

The largest selection of these files involves the Cook Islands, but there are also many files covering Niue, Samoa, Tokelau Islands and the South Pacific Commission.

Of interest among the files concerning Tokelau may be the release of four files relating to the 1955 disappearance of the passengers and crew of the Tokelau-bound vessel “Joyita”, one of the enduring sea mysteries of the South Pacific.

Other files released include a number returned from the Ministry’s overseas posts in Brussels, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, New Delhi, Noumea, New York (UN Mission), Seoul and Tokyo.

Files reviewed and cleared during the previous year are released each August.

Rather than releasing files after a fixed period (e.g. 30 years), the Ministry reviews and releases closed files as soon as practicable, subject to resource and international document release agreements.


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