The books arrived in Rarotonga last Thursday after the Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules transported thousands of them from their air base in Whenuapai, New Zealand.
The books had been collected during the Otaki Rotary Club book drive and came from Otaki locals and the Otaki Lions Club.
Otaki Rotary Club President Warren Irving finally packed over 64 boxes of books, all of which are in beautiful condition, including about 80 per cent fiction and with a reasonable number of sports books amongst them.
“We have been thinking for some time of helping the outer islands with setting up their own public libraries,” said Cook Islands Library and Museum manager Jean Mason.
“Our emphasis is to develop libraries for adults,” she added. “This means supplying them with important Cook Islands literature as well as imported fiction and non-fiction.
“We want the libraries to be an information resource centre too.” Mason says it is important that the books be accessible to both tourists and locals.
“Too often a visitor to the outer islands, after you have done with swimming or hiking, what is there left to do? A bit of recreational reading would not go amiss.” Mason said they were very grateful for the work that the Otaki Rotary, the NZ Ministry of Defence and the RNZAF crew have done in making the transportation of so many books to the pa enua happen.
An earlier shipment had already been sent to Atiu by Transam, with director Malcolm Sword arranging collection and delivery of 16 cartons of books.