Cooks Running out Of Money To Transport Outer Islanders Home

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Teams that attended anniversary festival stuck in Rarotonga

By Florence Syme-Buchanan

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Aug. 20, 2015) – The Office of the Prime Minister is running out of money to transport remaining Pa Enua teams home.

And it’s not just the lack of cash that’s making things difficult. Pua Hunter of the OPM office said delays in getting outer islands teams homes are ‘not confined to costs only’, and the transport vessel Tahiti Nui is having engine problems.

‘Engineers are working to get the replacement part installed and tested before sailing’.

Office of the Prime Minister chief executive Elizabeth Wright-Koteka is overseas accompanying Prime Minister Henry Puna on his official New Zealand visit and is also trying to source funding to repatriate the Pa Enua teams.

The sheer amount of cargo that Pa Enua team members are trying to take back to their home islands is also causing big space problems.

Cook Islands News has been told that some teams whose cargo was loaded first took up most of the available space, upsetting other teams.

But all the travelling Pa Enua teams have been told it’s a case of ‘people before cargo’, says Hunter.

"It will always be a feat to please everyone in terms of the cargo they want to take back to their islands, so as per travel arrangements – it’s people first with their allocated cargo allowance before other additional cargo’.

Cook Islands News understands that transportation isn’t the only area in which the government is short of funds.

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