Among the recipients was Apii Rutaki, who received more than $16,000 for school resources, including new sports uniforms.
“Our hearts are filled with joy and happiness,” school principal Poti Maeva said of the donation.
“We now have a safe place for our resources. We now have enough space for storage. Our school is now giving birth with colours of joy, pride, motivation and sportsmanship in their new uniforms. What a way to gather our small community in times of celebration.”
Another beneficiary of the Head of Mission Fund was Te Vaerua Community Rehabilitation, who received almost $22,000 towards the cost of restored and new equipment to support the services they deliver.
“It is difficult to obtain equipment here to enhance individuals’ safety and independence,” said Te Vaerua team leader Donna Smith. “However, we were able to organise with a voluntary Christian group in Auckland to source secondhand equipment, repair it and freight it over.
“Also, we were able to purchase new equipment that wasn’t easily available through the voluntary group, all due to the New Zealand High Commission Fund.
“Te Vaerua is going to start training courses in the near future. Again with the help of the High Commission, support has been provided to assist us with this, and increase general awareness of our service.”
New Zealand High Commissioner Peter Marshall said the High Commission was “delighted to be able to assist Cook Islanders in this way, finding practical solutions for worthy causes that are appreciated by many community groups”.
In addition to the Head of Mission Fund, New Zealand has provided more than $22 million to the Cook Islands in the 2017/18 financial year through its bilateral aid programme.
This funding has contributed to core services delivered by the Ministries of Education and Health and the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, as well as supporting a range of initiatives strengthening the public sector.
New Zealand funding has also contributed to stage two of the Te Mato Vai project to upgrade 10 water intakes across Rarotonga, and the environmental investigations and design work for sanitation improvements around Muri lagoon under the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai project.
The Cook Islands also participates in a range of New Zealand-funded regional initiatives in areas including fisheries, customs, police and sporting partnerships.
Head of Mission Fund grants for 2017/18:
Cook Islands Red Cross Society, $17,030.28
Tupapa Community Centre Committee, $3,008.50
Omoka Boys Brigade Company Penrhyn, $2,812.05
Apii Te Uki Ou PTA Committee, $310.00
Apii Avarua PTA, $11,786.60
Teenui Vainentini Atiu, $6,595.90
Tupapa Community Clean Up, $1,390.00
Te Kura Nui Youth Mauke, $5,783.05
Matara Community Rakahanga, $6,459.20
Araura TV Aitutaki, $11,458.22
Mangaia Disability Centre, $7,939.12
Rakahanga School, $10,000.00
Te Vaerua Rehabilitation, $21,865.07
Akaiti (Arts) Vananga, $7,310.15
Manihiki Island Council, $3,595.80
Punanga Tauturu Inc, $24,000.00
Apii Rutaki, $16,170.00