16 Feb 2010

New Zealand Air Force Hercules gets a big welcome on cyclone damaged Aitutaki

4:03 pm on 16 February 2010

A New Zealand Defence Force spokesperson says they've heard no complaints about the speed that aid has been delivered to victims of Cyclone Pat since they arrived in the Cook Islands.

Some locals on Aitutaki have criticised what they say was a delayed response by the Cook Islands and New Zealand governments to the cyclone, which damaged about 90 percent of the island's homes last week.

An Airforce Hercules carrying relief supplies and tradespeople to help restore power and water, and provide adequate shelter, touched down on Aitutaki this afternoon.

Squadron leader Kavae Tamariki says they've heard no criticism, and had a good response from Cook Islanders.

"Oh yeah, I think we had almost the whole island at the airport when we flew in. They are obviously buoyed by the arrival of the Hercules and the team. Since our arrival they have been very happy to see us and its been positive."

Kavae Tamariki says the Hercules is making several flights to transport supplies between Rarotonga and Aitutaki over the next two days.