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Matariki Wilson

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Sept. 27) – Funds are being sought for the voyaging canoe Te Au O Tonga that has been sitting idle at Avana for years.

The voyaging canoe, which once travelled across the Pacific Ocean to be part of cultural festivals and played a major role in the Maire Nui Festival of Arts in 1992 guiding other canoes through the Avana Passage, now sits broken.

She was beaten and battered by the waves of five cyclones in Avana earlier this year.

According to Tua Pittman of the nonprofit Cook Islands Voyaging Society (CIVS), they are looking for funds to cover the cost of the repairs for the damaged canoe.

"We are still looking for funds to repair the canoe and revive interest back in the community," says Pittman. "We also want to start up an educational programme around the canoe."

Pittman says that the vaka was featured in a movie and was wanted for a documentary on voyaging canoes, but due to its state this was cancelled.

Voyaging is part of the Cook Islands history and runs through the veins of the Cook Islands people.

October 3, 2005

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