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Mangaia’s colonial building turns into community hub

Wednesday 21 July 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Outer Islands

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Mangaia’s colonial building turns into community hub
The newly renovated and renamed Mangaia Lodge Community Centre. SUPPLIED/21072001.

The refurbished Mangaia Lodge Community Centre is now home to the Mangaia Red Cross, the Mangaia Elderbility Home Care Services and Te Kainga Pa Metua on the island.

Located in Aremauku upstairs in Oneroa, the facility will be used by the three agencies to coordinate their community activities, training, services and various programmes.

Mangaia Island Government executive officer (EO) Anthony Whyte said: “We are happy the three organisations can cohabitate, share the resources and community spirit, and we have confidence that they can all work well together.”

The building was originally constructed in 1947 to accommodate the island’s school headteacher, and is one of the three former colonial residences on Mangaia.

Owned by the Cook Islands Government under the custodianship of the Mangaia Island Government, the building had been neglected for a number of years after it was used as a private accommodation.

The repurpose of the centre was an initiative of the former mayor Teremoana Atariki and the Island Council - whom back in 2018 agreed to renovate the property specifically for community purposes.

The vision was to have a multi-purpose building, and to also keep its authenticity and preserve its history, said Whyte.

The current mayor of Mangaia Makitua Tutai and the Island Council are pleased to see the vision accomplished and look forward to the centre being used again.

Some funding for the renovations was received from the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), the Mangaia Island Council had contributed to the project through its work operations over the past 2-3 years.

Metua Vaiimene, the president of the Mangaia Red Cross, is extremely grateful for the investment from the Island Government and CIIC towards the shared facility, as well as for the special donor who supplied the furniture and appliances.

“We look forward to working with our partners and the community to breathe life back into our community hub and to better deliver our community initiatives,” said Vaiimene.

Mangaia government workers from Infrastructure, Public Utilities, Solar Girls and the island’s Tourism and Culture Department also worked on the project.

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