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For ‘sister’ island

Friday 19 February 2010 | Published in Regional

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The people of Manihiki will raise cyclone relief funds today for the people of Aitutaki.

Mayor Kora Kora says from 12pm to 6pm today the villages of Tukao and Tauhunu will gather at their cyclone centres to sell food, clothing, and other goods to raise funds. A television and radiothon will be held from 7pm to midnight.

Kora says Manihiki knows all too well the effects of cyclones after the devastation of 1997’s Cyclone Martin – tragically, the island lost 19 lives in the disaster.

“Manihiki has gone through cyclones – we went through Cyclone Martin in 1997. When the first Hercules flight arrived with supplies, there was donated food and clothes from Aitutaki for the people. We are not just doing this fundraising in return (for that assistance) but as a personal thing between two sister islands. There are a lot of blood connections between the people of the two islands.

“But overall, when anyone gets hurt like this, we want to jump in and help them.”

Yesterday Manihiki MP and cabinet minister Apii Piho and Rarotonga-based community member Tupou Faireka (also secretary of health) voiced their support for the fundraising efforts.

Piho says he is right behind his island’s efforts to do what they can for Aitutaki following the destruction caused by Cyclone Pat last week.

Kora says the Manihiki island council met on Tuesday to plan their fundraiser.

Deputy mayor Tarau Kaina and island secretary Laz Samson are coordinating today’s fundraiser with the assistance of the island council and the community.

Yesterday the Rarotonga-based Manihiki community was also due to meet with its president Pae Tuteru to plan a possible fundraiser here.

For inquiries about Manihiki’s fundraiser, call 43606 or 43106.

- Helen Greig