Donation boosts repair effort – but much more needed

Friday September 15, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Vaka Marumaru Atua has become a fixture along the road side at Avatiu harbour as it awaits costly repairs to its hull to make it seaworthy again following a damaging fire earlier this month. 17091328 Vaka Marumaru Atua has become a fixture along the road side at Avatiu harbour as it awaits costly repairs to its hull to make it seaworthy again following a damaging fire earlier this month. 17091328

A $5000 donation has boosted efforts by the Cook Islands Voyaging Society to replace the burned-out starboard hull on the vaka Marumaru Atua.

 

The donation came on Tuesday evening from Okeanos - Foundation for the Sea, which gifted the vaka to the society back in 2012.

The total raised for the rebuild has now reached $9,200 from 46 donors. However, it is still a long way from what the voyaging society needs to restore the vessel members affectionately call their “Mama”.

Cook Island Voyaging Society secretary Cecile Marten said the cost of replacing the Marumaru Atua’s damaged hull could range anywhere from $50,000 - $500,000.

The society did not have hull insurance, only third party liability. The vaka itself cost $950,000 to build in 2010.

Marten says the society is now looking to ship the vessel to New Zealand for repairs.

“We were fortunate we had one of the builders from Salthouse (a New Zealand boat building company), here on holiday and he popped down to have a look at the vaka on Monday.

“I have just received an initial assessment that they don’t believe that we can repair the hull. It looks like we will be replacing the hull completely.

“This will be a very long and expensive process.”

A replica of the vaka is currently being built for another voyaging society for a New Zealand festival in Wellington next March that the Cook Islands Voyaging Society was planning to attend. Marumaru Atua was due to voyage to New Zealand in November.

The vaka has been sitting on land above Avatiu harbour after being damaged by fire earlier this month. The cause of the fire is unknown, but a report following an investigation is due out this week and should confirm details, says Marten.

To make a donation to help the Voyaging Society repair vaka Marumaru Atua’s visit their givealittle page at: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/helpmarumaruatua/donations

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