Last September, a fire broke out on board the vaka, which took firefighters several hours to extinguish the blaze in the canoe’s starboard hull and it eventually sustained significant damage totalling $320,000.
Government pledged more than a quarter of a million dollars last month to the rebuild, however Cook Islands Voyaging Society secretary Cecile Marten said that the need for $100,000 is imminent.
“We really need that $100,000 deposit for the Salthouse Boatbuilders to get started this April, otherwise we won’t have a vaka until probably 2020,” Marten said.
The lengthy wait is due to the busy schedule of the boat builders. Currently they can repair the vaka if the deposit is provided, and the vessel would be back on the island by August.
However, missing the April window of opportunity could mean they won’t be able to begin work on it until June next year.
Marten said that she has been knocking on doors “all over” in search of the money. She says she’s even been hoping that that the government could possibly give them an advance of the $100,000.