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What to do with the appeal funds?

Thursday 4 March 2010 | Published in Regional


Having raised $127,000, the Aitutaki Cyclone Appeal Committee is under pressure to decide how to allocate the money.

Florence Syme-Buchanan, ACAC secretary, said that the committee as the “parent body” does not intend to divvy up the money without community input and has plans to canvass each village for suggestions as to how to distribute funds.

ACAC chairman George George said that director of audit Paul Allsworth has agreed to conduct a formal audit of all ACAC accounts and Allsworth said that his office is “happy to help” the ACAC to prove its credibility and accountability.

Syme-Buchanan said the committee will donate the money to a worthy “community project” that will benefit the entire island.

She also said that ACAC does not plan to give money directly to families that lost their homes because it “might give them an incentive to leave”.

The committee is working closely with Cook Islands Red Cross director Niki Rattle to determine a plan for distributing funds.

George said that ACAC has also made contact with Habitat for Humanity, which is planning to send New Zealand and Cook Islands volunteers to Aitutaki to launch a “massive house rebuilding programme”.

The organisation has launched an appeal to raise $300,000 to fund the programme.

“We’ve had a telephone conversation with Habitat for Humanity marketing manager David Lawson and we’d like to explore the possibility of maybe assisting the organisation with the rebuilding programme,” George said. “This is one area that we can consider for the funds.”

Committee representatives will meet with Lawson and Habitat for Humanity CEO Pete North when they arrive in Rarotonga next week.