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Monday 29 March 2010 | Published in Regional


Work on reroofing and fixing homes on Aitutaki, damaged by Cyclone Pat last month, started last week with homes listed as category 1 and 2 (minimal damage) the first to be fixed.

Aitutaki island mayor Tai Herman reports that there are three teams of workers on the island carrying out reroofing and building work.

He says that the building crews consist of supervisors from Rarotonga and around 20 young men from Aitutaki who are under the management of project manager Ata Herman.

“They have done the village of Tautu and are now well into the village of Vaipae,” says Herman. “Pending on the weather, he (Ata Herman) thinks they should be able to complete this part in three weeks.”

“Some of the houses are worse than initially estimated.”

Herman says that he and the Aitutaki Island Council and those people involved in the rebuilding of the category 1 and 2 homes are happy to see the work get off the ground.

“I, and the Aitutaki Island Counci, and those people involved in these two categories, couldn’t be happier seeing this part of the recovery programme actually turn into reality,” says Herman.

“The extent of the work is not only restricted to the actual plan, but also extends to those who are so desperate for more, and they are being looked after.”

Herman says that a technical advisor from NZAID is on the island and will be returning to Rarotonga today.

“At this stage I am hoping NZAID will come to the party early to address category 3 and 4 (homes with 50 to 100 per cent damage),” says Herman.

“I suppose I could refer this to a horse race between our government and NZAID.”

“Both have openly committed financial commitments to the recovery of Aitutaki but there is only one horse in the race.

“Our skinny ($2.7m) horse driven by the minister Wilkie Rasmussen is away on the track while NZAID’s fat ($5.5M) horse, still tied to a tree, couldn’t find a driver.”

“Otherwise we’re happy that our government have now walked the talk. Great job.”