Scores of swaying, chanting grass-skirted girls welcomed Princess Anne on Thursday (10 July) as she flew into the steamy Gilbert Islands for independence celebrations.
AERIAL VIEW Gilbert Islands (Kiribati) (2 shots)
SV Princes Anne getting off boat
GV Sailing dinghy at sea and residents watching (2 shots)
SV Local band playing as Princess Anne is escorted to guard of honour which she reviews from rostrum (4 shots)
SV Princess Anne speaking as others listen and interpreter takes over (4 shots)
SV Captain Mark Phillips listening
SV Locals watching as royal couple walk off (2 shots)
JOLLY: "The islands were the scene of bitter fighting during World War Two, with some of the bloodiest battles taking place on Tarawa, seat of the new government.
"Princess Anne sweltered in the equatorial heat, but authorities made conditions easier for her on the eve of independence by taking the Princess's party to sea to watch the islanders race their colourful tri-sail canoes. When the articles of government were handed over, thousands of islanders claimed every vantage point. They even climbed coconut trees at the edge of a football field. Contingents of sailors from the New Zealand, Australian and United States navies, dressed in tropical kit, marched past with local police forces.
"Then it was time for the reins of government to be handed over to the world's newest nation, which has amassed reserve funds of sixty-seven million dollars from phosphate revenues in the now-dwindling resource of Ocean Island. The British Government will continue helping out financially to 1981 -- then Kiribati is on its own. There wee none of the ocean island's natives on hand -- the Banabans boycotted the proceedings. The Banabans don't ??? to be part of Kiribati -- they want to be linked to Fiji, as most of them were resettled on Fiji's Rabwi Island after the war. this year, a group of banabans returned to their now despoiled island and then hurled petrol bombs at mining machinery. The incoming government of Kiribati was concerned about possible action at the independence ceremonies, and an Australian bomb disposal expert was reported on the island. But no trouble eventuated -- it was all singing and dancing."
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Background: Scores of swaying, chanting grass-skirted girls welcomed Princess Anne on Thursday (10 July) as she flew into the steamy Gilbert Islands for independence celebrations. But, police were on full alert against rouble from dissident islanders. The Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand's reporter, Spencer Jolly, reports that the festival facade concealed a number of tensions.