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Aitutaki marina project takes first steps forward

Wednesday March 18, 2015 Written by Published in Outer Islands
A bird’s eye view of the planned marina, which would have space to berth up to 200 boats. A bird’s eye view of the planned marina, which would have space to berth up to 200 boats.

The first small steps are being taken in a new marina and amenity project which will boost Aitutaki’s popularity with visiting yachts, encourage new businesses and provide new jobs.

The Aitutaki Orongo Development Project, a joint venture between the Cook Islands Ports Authority and the Aitutaki Island Council, will involve deepening and widening the existing Arutanga harbour channel and basin to allow yachts and cruise ship tenders to safely berth. It will also accommodate inter-island shipping.

However, the jewel in the crown of the project will be development of the area in front of the island’s fishing club to allow up to 200 yachts to berth, which in turn is expected to give the island’s tourism revenues a healthy boost.

It will involve demolition of the old Orongo Centre building which was severely damaged in Cyclone Pat which devastated the island in 2010. The building was totally ruined and has been condemned, says Tou. 

A new two storey community and commercial centre will be constructed to replace it, with small shops on the ground floor and offices on the top floor, says Ports Authority chief executive Bim Tou. The Aitutaki Island Council’s chambers will also be located in the building.

The complex will feature what Tou describes as a ‘modern’ toilet facility, construction of which will begin soon.

“A qualified project manager has been appointed and has been charged with negotiations with building contractors to construct the facility.”

Tou says dredging and widening the harbour channel and the basin will allow much larger vessels into the harbour, while the marina facilities will help the island to attract some of the 1000-plus yachts estimated to sail past Aitutaki each year.

No completion date has been put on the ambitious $15.5 million project, but it is listed among the top 10 most important investment plans in the government’s infrastructure investment plan, says Tou.  At this stage, the plan is to stage the project over five to 10 years.

The project was first mooted back in 2012 when a feasibility study was conducted. Environmental assessments have since been completed.

18 comments

  • Comment Link Georgtina Monday, 08 February 2016 19:57 posted by Georgtina

    Why would you do such a stupid thing. Aitutaki is a beautiful place. You don't need space for 200 yachts, seriously! Spend it on our beautiful people and family who live there to upgrade schools, shops, hurricane hit spots, etc. LEAVE AITUTAKI ALONE!!

  • Comment Link aiaikitekura Kavana Saturday, 04 April 2015 06:26 posted by aiaikitekura Kavana

    Who are these decision makers thinking of with this pathethic move towards distroying Aitutaki. Let those yachties sail past. Build a marina to accomodate them and their passengers? I'm not talking about humans either. If their sailing around the world, what are they carrying on their fancy yacht? Insects, bacteria, oh, their pet animals? And please don't insult me by saying how beneficial it is to accommodate tourism. Look in our lagoon, does anyone see any turtle, paua? Absolutely not. The seabed in the lagoon was painted with beautiful clams and tropical fish. Now, its, floating disposal nappies, cans, bottle tops. Why? We allowed it to happen. Why isn't there enough water on the island? Well, the visitors need clean water for their showers. The Aitutaki Island Council, who are you lot? I'm confident you are not of the same breed as our aitupunas. Look around you, fancy resorts and the money isn't on the island because if it was the schools would be in the state it is and the children would not still be using long-drops. Children with disabilities needs are in the healthcare system that is not even sufficient to supply bandages. Ripped up white sheets sterilised and in brown paper bags closed with a stable is what we experienced. Do our leaders on Aitutaki even know how to take care of our people and country? Ben, before papaa amenities arrived on the islands there was polynesian culture. Our people are fishermen's, explorers, planters, builders. Their fishing hooks hooked fish. They didn't need a fancy machine to find fish, GOD gave them a map, the sun and the stars. They didn't have motors either. They had a paddle. Life expectancy, it wasn't in the sixties. There were people in the 80's, 90's and entering a 100. A result of the land. The ocean. Clean and non-toxic. What is it now. Instead of a coconut its a bottle of fizzy and the Ingredient, sugar, water, gas, food colouring. And where does the plastic bottle go, in a hole in the yard, on the beach, the plastic bags caught in the tree branches and even on a coconut tree. In the bush with all the stacks of empty beer bottles. Not a nice look, is it? Our people, don't let them build this mariner. We are a very rich nation in our own right. Our forefathers made sure of that with they migrated and discovered our beloved Aitutaki. Take ownership of it our people, don't let a group of a few make a decision about our future generation to be controlled by money. The Cook Island Ports Authority and the Aitutaki Island Council, Katarina Komene said it, God created Aitutaki, and you want to help destroy it.

  • Comment Link Meari Putairi Thursday, 02 April 2015 18:43 posted by Meari Putairi

    Are you kidding me...u want to build a marina...oh man! I hope the hurricane will destroy it too...stupid government...Aitutaki isn't Rarotonga

  • Comment Link Bill Sinclair Tuesday, 31 March 2015 13:09 posted by Bill Sinclair

    Kia Orana,
    As a NZ born Cookie I can see valid points raised on both sides of this debate. It is without question the environment in Aitutaki is vital and must not be irrevocably disrupted. The people of Aitutaki need to be assured this is the case and independent expertise will need to validate. If this is achievable then an improved port of entry will enhance the visiting experience and create opportunity for local business access to visitors going out on the lagoon etc. The area is currently uninviting. I agree that visiting yachts will spend very little, but motor vessels are inclined to spend more.
    What ever happens the people of Aitutaki need to decide as caretakers of this paradise.

  • Comment Link Martha Tuesday, 31 March 2015 11:50 posted by Martha

    How much more damage can the government, leaders and decision makers of our beautiful island of Aitutaki do? $15.5 million for a Marina and not even $1 for the humane necessities for the people of Aitutaki: water supply, healthcare, education and the list can go on. Just goes to show how lilttle (which is nothing at all) the decision makers of the Cook Islands care about their own people. Oh I forgot, only when it's time for election day, they lie they care. I hope for once, they will listen to the concerns and needs of the people, who are the reason, where they are today. NO, NO, NO TO THE MARINA.

  • Comment Link Ben Thursday, 26 March 2015 18:56 posted by Ben

    Since the collapse of the banana industry tourism, has brought money into Aitutaki where one can live without money but without papaa things? No telephones, no fishing hooks, no metal, no internet to post on Cook Islands News website, no made in China bras - only coconut shells, the paradise captain Blight discovered. Some would want that. Some wouldn't. The idea of vakas full of tourist spending money on all sorts of things such as at cultural performances which help to keep Polynesian culture alive, is a good thing.

  • Comment Link Raewyn Thompson Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:48 posted by Raewyn Thompson

    As a frequent traveller from NZ, this will definitely dampen this peaceful, tranquil and laid back lifestyle us tourists all crave.... Which is why we make a quick exit out of Rarotonga. If we wanted hustle and bustle, we would have stayed in Auckland. Aitutaki is an unspoiled, untouched island paradise, the very reason we keep coming back for more!!! Just keen to know if the locals are for or against this complex. I know better ways to spend that $15,500,000 - water, roading, education, health, restoring empty buildings damaged in the cyclone, in other words rebuilding Aitutaki back to its former wonder and glory.... If this project gets the green light (fingers crossed it doesn't) heed the warning bells of incoming vessels with unsavoury characters and intentions!!!

  • Comment Link Jesse Eli Wednesday, 25 March 2015 02:13 posted by Jesse Eli

    Born and raised in Aitutaki. Now residing in South Australia, but will be returning home in the very near future. I am against the idea of a marina. Spending so much money on it is
    an absolute waste. Money are better spent on schools, roads (health, Education, water management & waste management. etc etc etc. Just have a look how filthy Avatiu harbour is, Aitutaki harbour will be the same if Marina goes ahead. Besides only outsiders will benefit. The most critical thing I am concern is, if it goes ahead this will let sharks in to the harbour. and that being the case there will not be any swimming there anymore. Don't Do It. Think of the eco system and The Marine Life

  • Comment Link nette Monday, 23 March 2015 18:41 posted by nette

    I have searched the world for the ultimate tropical paradise and I found it in Aitutaki. Having a marina and all those facilities will just bring it in line with everywhere else; ruined by man. Why on earth would anyone in their right mind think this is a good idea?!!

  • Comment Link Teura Tuaineiti Saturday, 21 March 2015 11:52 posted by Teura Tuaineiti

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE NO WAY DON'T NEED THAT THERE???? AITUTAKI SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE...IF YOU BUILD THE MARINA ITS GONNA BE RUIN AND THE BEAUTY OF THE ISLAND WILL BE NO MORE.. WAKE UP PEOPLE.. WHY DO U WANT A MARINA THERE....FLASH AS RICH PEOPLE AND THERE TOYS WILL RUIN THE ISLAND.. THERE'S SO MUCH MORE I WANT TO SAY..BUT IT WILL BE LIKE A BOOK!!! I LOVE MY ISLAND MY BEAUTIFUL AITUTAKI GO BUILD A MARINA ON THE CAPITAL OF RAROTONGA .. NOT HAPPY...

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