More Top Stories


Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Other Sports

Double gold for Darts

21 January 2023


Population policy endorsed

10 January 2023


PM Brown vows to change law

23 January 2023

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022


We’re halfway there!

16 November 2022


From the river to the ocean

18 November 2022

New appeal body to coordinate fundraising

Wednesday 17 February 2010 | Published in Regional


A new group has formed to promote and coordinate fundraising efforts for cyclone recovery on Aitutaki.

At Monday night’s meeting, the Aitutaki community on Rarotonga elected a committee to oversee and consolidate all cyclone fundraising efforts.

Florence Syme-Buchanan, secretary for the cyclone relief committee, said that the committee is advocating a coordinated approach to fundraising so as to properly account for all donated monies.

“The accountability issue is really important and we want to get it out to the general public that this is the committee coordinating all fundraising activities,” she said.

“We want to be sure that all funds are accounted for, everything’s done transparently and people are given receipts for the monies they donate.”

Committee chairman George George added that anyone is welcome to raise funds for the Aitutaki cause but “it must be done all above-board and individuals or organisations wanting to raise funds should liaise with the committee. This is the official body set up to oversee that all money received is accounted for and is used for what is intended – to help the people of Aitutaki.”

George, Syme-Buchanan, vice chairman Vaitoti Tupa and treasurer Nga Takaiti intend to set up a cyclone appeal office at the Aitutaki hostel in Avarua today, and will use it as a base from which to field calls and emails, handle accounts and process donations.

The committee is working closely with communities of Aitutakians overseas and is maintaining communication lines with groups in New Zealand, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Syme-Buchanan said she has made a formal request to minister of foreign affairs Robert Wigmore to use an office on Symonds Street in Auckland, the High Commissioner’s office in Wellington and the Cook Islands Centre in Mangere as fundraising centres where overseas Aitutakians can deliver gifts and goods.

The relief committee has also established a Westpac account so as to consolidate donations from local and overseas donors and to “make sure funds go to the right place,” George said. If you’d like to make a donation, the name of the account is Aitutaki Cyclone Appeal, the number is #2000256327 and the swift code is WPACCKCR.

Syme-Buchanan said that the committee will host follow-up programmes to satisfy donors. They have also pledged to work with the media to ensure that financial transactions are honest, public and transparent.

Aside from coordinating donations and managing relief organisations throughout the region, the committee is busy planning a number of fundraising events.

All Rarotonga villages will meet individually today to discuss Friday’s food stall in Avarua, and will come together on Thursday to synchronise their efforts.

All three commercial radio stations will run radiothons on Friday. Callers can contact Cook Islands Radio on 20100, Matariki FM on 25999 or 88FM on 22888.

The committee is also planning an open-air concert at Punanga Nui Marketplace this Saturday from 9 am until 12 pm, featuring Aitutakian dancers, drummers and singers. It has plans to run another church service on Sunday alongside Bishop Tutai Pere.

The committee plans to combine all the funds they raise and to use them to send “nonperishables, building materials and tradespeople” directly to Aitutaki, Syme-Buchanan said.

“We’re asking our Aitutaki community out there to help us,” George said. “Let’s work as a team. I think that’s the only way we’re going to go forward.”

To contact the cyclone relief committee, ring the Aitutaki hostel on 29910 or email