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Matariki Wilson

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, June 4) – There is now hope for the graceful voyaging canoe "Maire Nui" built on the island of Mauke since the Cook Islands News ran the story of her plight on Thursday.

[Mauke is the in the Cooks southern group and is the country’s easternmost island.]

Tattooist Ti Pekepo has been looking after the canoe housed in a government owned property for some six years but now plans are in place to pull down the shed.

But since Thursday Pekepo has been inundated with positive responses from members of the public wanting to help out.

"I've had a lot of support especially from the Mauke community," says Pekepo.

One proposal is to house the canoe in the grounds at the Cook Islands Library in Avarua, but that proposal is yet to be fully discussed and confirmed.

The canoe now sits out in the open a long way from home waiting for her new home.

The canoe was named in honour of the Maire Nui Festival in 1992.

She sailed 241 kilometres from Mauke and was navigated by Peia Tuaatai. She suffered a broken mast on her journey to Rarotonga but nevertheless made it to the festival.

Her sailing days maybe over but her stories still echo from her hull.

As for the shed she has vacated, Tarita Hutchinson, the chief executive officer of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation says they have plans for it.

Hutchinson says the shed will be used as a car park area for the ministry of finance (MFEM) staff. This will enable the area in the front of the MFEM offices to become customer parking for those who need the services of revenue management, immigration and other agencies in the same building.

June 10, 2005

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