Mauke athlete Kura Tamaka with her shoes on ready to play! SUPPLIED/22090720
Young Mauke athletes bound for the Cook Islands Games in Rarotonga now have their own footwear thanks to a shoe drive.
launched by the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC),
began last month.
The CISNOC shoe
drive has partnered with Mauke-based couple Luana and Chris Abraham who run
youth sports competitions to provide young Mauke athletes with sport shoes.
Luana and Chris
run local netball, rugby and soccer competitions, which have resulted in a
Development Team being selected to come across to Rarotonga to compete in the
Cook Islands Games to be held from September 30 to October 15.
However, it was
noted that many of the young athletes do not have shoes and play barefoot.
“We have had to
seek donations and sponsorship from Rarotonga and New Zealand to build up our
sports equipment to be able to provide sufficient training programmes, even
down to basics such as balls,” Luana said.
“Living in the Pa
Enua, we do not have the luxury of popping down to a store to purchase shoes or
appropriate sports clothing and rely heavily on our families in Rarotonga (if
we have any) or overseas to help provide us with these.”
Luana said many
Mauke young people did not have sports shoes at all and train in barefoot.
“Last week, Mauke
began work on our roads and therefore this has added another challenge for our
tamariki and youth to be able to run on our roads. We are also constantly fundraising as we are
sure many Pa Enua are, to assist mainly with airfares,” she said.
Luana said she had
deep gratitude for those who had donated shoes and other sports supplies.
gratitude that they no longer have to run barefoot along our raw roads, and can
fully engage in trainings, especially where sports are concerned that require
some type of boots with sprigs,” she said.
Luana said it was
taking across a team of 31 to Rarotonga for the Cook Islands Games.
“Eight of those
are our support crew (adult supervision, cooks, cleaners, drivers, coaches and
trainers). Age range is from 12 years old to 28 years being the core of the
group. Our support crew range from 30 years to 60 years, who are also
participating in masters’ events and traditional games,” she said.
“We are truly
appreciative and humble for the support. It is initiatives like these that our
youth and tamariki can have opportunities to participate in some type of
physical activity more comfortably while developing their confidence which therefore
enables them to perform the best that they can.”
development officer Lauren Turner said the shoe drive was able to provide many
athletes with shoes to enable them to get stuck into their sports and training
are still a number of shoe requirements yet to be fulfilled that the Shoe Drive
has not been able to meet. So, we’re asking for further donations – runners,
rugby and soccer players, we need your help! If you have an old pair of any of
the shoes listed in the image below, then we’d love to be able to pass them on
to Luana, Chris, and the kids in Mauke.”
Shoes can be
dropped off at the CISNOC Office, backroad Nikao behind the Ministry of
you or anyone you know needs a pair of sports shoes please contact the CISNOC
office on 24095 or email email@example.com.”