8 Feb 2005

Flights begin again into Cook Islands capital

7:24 am on 8 February 2005

Flights have begun again into and out of the Cook Islands capital, Rarotonga, after Cyclone Meena shut off all air traffic.

Air New Zealand passenger flights from Auckland and Papeete touched down in Rarotonga earlier this morning.

Traffic Controller Tony Waring, says two Air New Zealand flights left the Cook Islands capital of Rarotonga this morning.

Mr Waring says there was no damage caused by Meena

Air Rarotonga planes arrived last night from Niue where they'd been sheltering from the storm.

The most southern of the Cook Islands, Mangaia, won't know until later today the full extent of damage caused by Cyclone Meena.

The secretary of the Mangaia Island administration, Tuaine Tuara, says it's known that one house lost part of its roof while several storage sheds have been wrecked.

As well many trees have been blown over.

Mrs Tuara says on the road to the airport from the main village there was extensive debris.

Forecasters say the cyclone is now weakening and passing south east of the Austral Islands in French Polynesia.