Cook Islands Police Commissioner Maara Tetava yesterday handed over a cheque of $28,462.50 to the Australian Charge d'affaires Chris Munn.
“It was an overwhelming and emotional moment.”
Three United States firefighters died in the crash of their waterbombing aircraft in the Snowy Mountains over the weekend, and six volunteer firefighters were taken to hospital.
The Police Service led fundraising for families and those affected by the devastating bushfires in Australia in recent months. This is to be given to New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
As of yesterday morning, there have been 62 bush and grass fires that have claimed 31 lives and destroyed thousands of homes, with 11 million hectares of land burnt out.
Munn was overwhelmed and expressed his deep appreciation for the generosity of Cook Islanders and their tremendous efforts, police said.
He had conveyed word back to Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison was also apprised of the fundraising effort here.
“The Australian response has been very good. They're overwhelmed by the work put in to help.”
Commissioner Maara Tetava reiterated his appreciation as well, for the staff, the sponsors and entertainers.
The fundraiser started on January 15 where police officers led the charge around Rarotonga collecting donations, car wash initiatives and entertainment was provided at the Police Department.
Tetava has said it was never about the money or reaching a target, but more about a gesture of help those who have been suffering for quite some time as a result of the devastating fires.