3 Jun 2005

Cook Islands officials urged to find home for threatened historic canoe

1:25 pm on 3 June 2005

Authorities in the Cook Islands are being urged to find a home for a seagoing canoe that is being described as a national treasure.

The 100-metre-long vaka which survived from the 1992 Festival of Pacific Arts has been moved out of a large storage shed run by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation.

The Rarotonga businessman, Ti Pekepo, is urging officials to support his plan to restore the vessel, which is made from a single tree-trunk.

"Well it's one of the last of our canoes that is built in a traditional manner, and from a very sacred timber which is the tamanu. When the Christians first arrived here, because of this type of timber, they were actually burnt, because that was this timber that we made various gods from."

Mr Pekepo wants to start a restoration project to train local youths in traditional techniques and use it as a base for learning more about Cook Islands culture.