The Rotary Club of Wanaka has teamed up with Rotary Clubs in Cromwell and Alexandra to support a school in the Cook Islands by stocking their shelves full of books.
The Apii Nikao school in the Cook Islands was built two years ago and it’s library has no shelving and no books, a fact uncovered after a chance meeting between the Rotary Club’s presidents and Rotary Club of Rarotonga president Greg Amos.
“Greg told us that their Rotary Club had put some books into a medical centre waiting room for people to swap and drop. He said that many villages do not have public libraries and that the Cook Islands government had a goal to improve literacy rates,” said Deb Budden president of The Rotary Club of Wanaka.
Rotary Club of Wanaka member Alan Richardson visited the Cook Islands and met with the Rotary Club of Rarotonga who introduced him to Apii Nikao School.
“From there the idea just blossomed,” said Deb. “We knew we had to do something so we engaged with the Rotary Club’s in Alexandra and Cromwell and sought a grant from our Rotary District. Next minute we had $11,000 and more books than we knew what to do with”.
New books were purchased for the Apii Nikao school library and two pallets of quality 2nd hand books, to be used in Lilliput libraries in the villages, have been shipped to the Cook Islands. “There’s about 40 banana boxes of books on each pallet holding about 1,600 books,” said The Rotary Club of Wanaka’s foundation committee incoming director Nicola Brown.
On arrival in Rarotonga the Rotary Club of Rarotonga will fix promotional decals (printed in Central Otago) to commercial glass fronted fridges which will house the 2nd hand books and act as book exchange or “Lilliput library” in the villages.
Principal of Apii Nikao school, Elizabeth Kapi, said her school’s parent teachers association (PTA) was excited to receive “this huge and generous donation”.
“On behalf of all our students, teachers and school community, meitaki maata for this wonderful gift,” said Elizabeth.
The Apii Nikao school community will install shelving in the school’s library to house the nearly 600 new, fiction and non-fiction books. “These will be a huge start to the school’s library collection,” said Deb.
Rotarians Mark Willyams (Alexandra), Nicola Brown (Wanaka), and Grant Lunn (Cromwell) with the pallet of books destined for Rarotonga