Island tarnished by child sex offences 'making progress' - British High Commissioner

Things are finally looking up for a tiny island rocked by underage sex offence scandals, the outgoing British High Commissioner says.

"Right now the situation on the island is better than it has been for 25 or 30 years," Jonathan Sinclair told Lisa Owen on Three's The Nation.

"I'm really delighted about the progress it's made."

Pitcairn Island is a British overseas territory administered by New Zealand, with a population of around 50 people, who are descended from the mutineers of the HMS Bounty and their Tahitian companions.

In 2004 six men were jailed for child sex offences, including rape and incest, and just last year the community mayor was sentences for possessing more than 1000 child sex images and videos.

Mr Sinclair says the fact the island is now out of world headlines" has fundamentally changed the tone of what goes on".

"They have had their problems of course, and they've got phenomenal challenges facing them.

"It's well-led, it's got a great government there, and actually just this year we've embarked on a reconciliation programme which has really tried to tackle some of the issues of the past."

Mr Sinclair also told The Nation New Zealand has a "good chance" of a free-trade deal with the UK after Brexit.

"If you think about New Zealand's global identity, it is one of the leading, if not the leading countries in terms of quality trade agreements.

The UK government sees real opportunity not only in the trade agenda bilaterally with New Zealand, but in finding common cause with New Zealand on the global stage.

"New Zealand has a really high global profile."

Brexit won't affect Kiwis' rights in the United Kingdom "at the present time", Mr Sinclair says.