And market manager William Taripo is optimistic of sourcing the required funds from the government after becoming a part of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation as one of the state owned entities.
Taripo, who took over the popular Saturday attraction in March last year, has an ambitious plan to beautify the place.
He wants to put canopies at the market to ease the workload of the vendors, install new lights and upgrade the toilet blocks in the near future. These canopies are the new permanent shade system in the market’s central area.
Taripo already facilitated a major upgrade late last year which resulted in the tarsealing of the main market area. He is hoping for funding approval to complete the tarsealing of the remaining areas.
“The market has become one of favourite tourist spots especially on Saturdays. The tourism body uses the Punanga Nui in its marketing campaigns to attract the visitors to Rarotonga,” Taripo said.
“Therefore it’s important to upgrade some of the facilities and keep it in good shape to cater the needs of the visitors and others who use the market.
“The market is also an important part of the town and infrastructure at Punanga Nui is part of the beautification of the town area.”
The initial tarsealing project cost about $275,000. A similar amount will be needed to complete the tarsealing of the remaining areas.
Taripo said installing of canopies was expected to cost them close to $174,000 while the toilet refurbishment work would come around $60,000.
“We would need close to about $0.5 million to complete all the desired work to add to the beauty of the Punanga Nui market,” he said.
“The operation of the market has been carried through the fees collected from the market vendors.
We haven’t had any other support in the running and upkeep of the market.
“Since we are now under CIIC management, we are hoping to get some support from the government to further improve the market and give it sort of, a ‘state of the art’ look.”
The upgrade at the Punanga Nui late last year was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the market which was opened by Prince Edward in 1992. Originally the goal was to have a permanent shade system that would be prefabricated in New Zealand, installed and the area tar sealed by October 15, the date it was opened in 1992.
The anniversary celebration took place on November 24, 2017 with the unveiling of commemorative plaques set in stone, by Queens Representative Tom Marsters and New Zealand deputy High Commissioner Samantha Beckett.