The main purpose of the march, which took place on June 9 and involved members aged from two to 67, was to raise awareness of the Girls’ Brigade, but past experience had shown that people would come and donate money as they marched anyway, said national president Tangi Taoro.
“Before we did the march we had a meeting and we discussed that any money raised would be donated to a community project, and that’s when we came up with Te Vaerua,” Taoro explained.
“There are others like Te Kainga, Are Pa Metua, the Creative Centre, and also Takamoa which we donate to every year, but this is a new one and we haven’t donated anything. That was the reason why we chose it.”
As it turned out, the Girls’ Brigade already had a special connection to Te Vaerua, as one of the founding members of the organisation was Mataiti Mataiti, who has also worked with the Brigade in the past.
Mataiti played an important role in developing the confidence and outdoors knowledge and skills of many young members of the Girls’ Brigade, over the years helping hundreds of them achieve their Duke of Edinburgh badges, a prestigious international award.
The money raised by the Girls’ Brigade was presented by their national patroness, Mrs Akevai Ngametua, and gratefully accepted by Te Vaerua team leader Donna Smith, accompanied by governing board member Niki Rattle. “We’re most grateful for them thinking that we’re worthy of their hard work, of walking from here all the way down to Nikao,” said Rattle, speaking at the handover ceremony yesterday in front of the Takamoa Mission House in Avarua.
“We are very pleased that they chose to give their hard-earned money to Te Vaerua, and they can rest assured that it will come in very useful for our clients.”
Te Vaerua Community Rehabilitation Services offer a physiotherapy clinic, a supported hospital discharge service, community and home-based physio/occupational therapy, and carer training and support.
“We also go into people’s homes, build ramps for those in wheelchairs, adjust bathrooms for people who need railings and this money will go wherever it’s most needed,” said Rattle