The Ministry of Education will be hosting the ceremony in the presence of Wang Lutong, Ambassador of the Peoples’ Republic of China, as well as Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna.
A host of guests including cabinet ministers, heads of ministries, Nikao School teachers, students and families, and the wider community are invited to attend the event at 10am this morning at the Apii Nikao site.
Cook Islands Deputy High Commissioner to New Zealand, Tepareu Hermann says the event is designed to show China’s pledge to the Nikao School rebuild project.
“This is the first time a Chinese government representative has been present on the site, so really it’s just an announcement. Nothing will be signed.”
Following the ceremony, a joint press release will be written and distributed on behalf of the Prime Minister’s office and the Chinese government.
“Both governments are very committed to making to project happen as soon as possible,” Hermann says.
She says the current housing arrangements for the students are not ideal from anyone’s perspective.
“Part of the reason for the ceremony is to make sure that there is that high level commitment to making things move as quickly but efficiently as possible.”
Prime Minister’s advisor Trevor Pitt, says money will be handed over, but no formal documents will be signed, as it is just an acknowledgement of the Chinese government’s future commitment.
“We’re just taking advantage of the fact that they’re here on the island to hold this ceremony.”
The ceremony will begin with a welcome from Sharyn Paio, Acting Secretary of Education, on behalf of the Ministry Education.
There will then be an opening prayer, remarks on behalf of Nikao School by the co-principals of Apii Nikao, an address by the Henry Puna, and Wang Lutong, followed by a response by the Apii Nikao Community Member of Parliament Ngamau Munukoa.
Apii Nikao will then present a gift to Ambassador Wang Lutong.