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League launches fundraising appeal

Friday 17 November 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in League, Pacific Games 2023, Sports


League launches fundraising appeal
The men’s and women’s Nines teams, along with their officials, arrived in Canberra, Australia, from Nadi, Fiji, yesterday afternoon. SUPPLIED/23111630

The Cook Islands Rugby League Nines teams have launched a fundraising appeal after their travel plans to the upcoming Pacific Games in Solomon Islands were disrupted by a series of flight cancellations, forcing them to rebook multiple times and significantly draining their finances, reports Losirene Lacanivalu in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The men’s and women’s teams, along with their officials, arrived in Canberra from Nadi yesterday afternoon. They were scheduled to depart for Brisbane to catch their connecting flight to Honiara, scheduled to depart Brisbane International Airport on Saturday at 10:45 am (Australian time) and arrive in Honiara at 2:55 pm (Solomon Islands time).

Their journey was initially hampered by a flight cancellation to Fiji due to Tropical Cyclone Mal, leaving them stranded in Auckland on Tuesday. Despite securing an early morning departure from Auckland to Nadi on Wednesday, they missed the weekly flight to Honiara.

In a video message before departing Nadi yesterday morning, men’s team manager Wallace Aroita appealed for financial support from the Cook Islands community.

“We’re facing a lot of challenges right now with all the rebooking of airline tickets, baggage, and everything else required to get a team to tour overseas,” Aroita explained.

“We’ve decided to set up Give a Little and GoFundMe pages to address our financial situation. This is beyond what we anticipated – we’re not saying we’ve run out of money, but it has gone deeper than expected.

“After discussing with the management team, we believe this is necessary to reach out to our communities and seek assistance from our Cook Islands people.

“All we want to do is get to the Solomons but we got a lot of challenges on the way. Though the travel plans are sorted, there is still more to that, refuelling our athletes, resting and recovering, transportation, and whatever else that is required.”

Those wishing to contribute can make donations to the Cook Islands Rugby League Association’s bank account: 83321 S16.1 at the Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI).

The team was also planning to establish fundraising pages upon arrival in Brisbane yesterday.

Support from the community has already begun pouring in following Aroita’s call for assistance. CC Tamure Fitness Cook Islands organised a fundraiser at the Avatiu Sports Club yesterday, appealing for public support.

“Whether you’re passionate about rugby or simply want to make a positive difference, your support is invaluable. Together, we can achieve our fundraising goal and make a lasting impact on the rugby league community who are currently stranded,” CC Tamure Fitness Cook Islands said in a Facebook post.

Aroita expressed his gratitude for the group’s initiative and thanked everyone for their unwavering support.

“We are so grateful that Canberra and Australia have responded and they are coming to our rescue, that’s massive and means a lot to us.

“We are now thinking ahead …we are pushing ahead and thinking about other things that maybe of concern to us. As always, we want to be well prepared.”

The Pacific Games league competition commences on Monday, after the official opening ceremony scheduled for Sunday, November 19 (Solomon Islands time).

Meanwhile Team Cook Islands started their Pacific Games campaign in tennis and basketball which kicked off yesterday.