The Aitutaki Celebration Committee organisers and the Aitutaki Island Council breathed a sigh of relief when two containers of mattresses and pillows arrived to the island, to accommodate the arrival of visitors next week for the islands 200th bi-centennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity.
On Monday morning a blessing ceremony was held to officially
receive the products; Rev Frank Williams from the Arutanga CICC praised the
love and generosity of those who had co-ordinated the shipping of the much
There was a light shower of rain prior to the blessing
and shortly after the sun shone briefly - described by Rev Williams as “an omen
and blessing from above”.
Mayor Tekura Bishop says, “it was a combined effort by
government, the island council and the generosity of our people in New Zealand,
Australia and the Cook Islands, to provide these resources; these will be
extremely helpful and will make up the shortage of the mattresses, pillows,
tables and chairs on the island.
“There won’t be enough, however, we are doing the best
we can under difficult circumstances, and I thank all those involved for their
assistance and co-operation,” he said.
“Our main concern was that shipping may have been delayed
because of the lockdown in New Zealand, thankfully our prayers were answered,”
The organising committee, island council and Aitutaki
Infrastructure staff will distribute the mattresses and pillows this week to the
villages that need assistance.
Work on the dome at Orongo Park is well on track and
is anticipated to be completed at the end of this week; the stage will then be
constructed in readiness for the various activities and entertainment events.
“We are all
excited at the prospect of seeing family and friends who will be attending this
once in a lifetime event,” said Bishop.
Donations locally and from overseas are still being
received, with a total estimate of approximately $120,000; at present, they cannot
provide an accurate and final amount until the event has concluded - as
donations are still coming in, Bishop said.
All donations have been directed to the purchasing of goods
and supplies, and to assist each village with their accommodation and catering