Te Kapua’anga O te Evangelia Meeting House & Safety Center Programme Rolls Out

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Work begun last month on renovating the Takuvaine community meeting house in readiness for celebrations to commemorate 200 years since the arrival of Christianity in Rarotonga; and for future use as a public shelter in the event of a cyclone or other disaster.

The work is expected to be concluded soon with the blessing planned for Ariki Day on Friday 7 of July. The work is expected to cost more than $200,000, with the government putting in $100,000, and the Takuvaine village providing the rest. So far the village has raised more than $109,000.

This project is a joint venture between the Government represented by Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) and EMCI – Emergency Management Cook Islands – and Takuvaine Community Incorporated. A formal memorandum of understanding and agreements have been formalised between all parties. The project manager for the project is Bim Tou and the contractor completing the works is Tani Mussell and the team from SiteWorx.

EMCI’s John Strickland says “the refurbishment will see substantial repairs carried out to the hall, including re-roofing, recladding the exterior and relining the interior. The work is part of the Rarotonga Saftey Shelter Programme which was established last year by the Government to carry out remediation work to community and public buildings designated or identified as potential cyclone shelters.”

The Takuvaine meeting house – known as ‘Te Kapua’anga O Te Evangelia’ is the second building included in the Rarotonga Safety Shelter Programme. It was built in the early 1900s on land gifted by Karika Ariki, and its construction – typical of the time – was limestone walls and iron roof.

The first and pilot building in the project was the Nikao CICC hall. Mr Strickland said “EMCI and CIIC are currently preparing a broader rollout of the Rarotonga Safety Shelter Programme in the next month or 2.”

The programme commenced last year with detailed scoping of potential centres. The scoping report identified 18 suitable community facilities and 11 suitable hostels across Rarotonga, requiring a reasonable level of refurbishment to act as a cyclone or safety shelter, and high level scoping of these centres.

“Suitable community facilities will be advised soon and asked to partner with Government, in terms of refurbishing the community facility, to bring the facility up to standard. Such contribution from the Government will be subject to an agreement for the centre to be made available to Government, upon declaration of an emergency.”

Community centres are expected to fundraise and contribute to the costs of refurbishments. Watch out for further communications on the programme roll out.

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