Te Tau Papa o Avarua project will include development to the town area pictured. From left: CIIC Te Tau Papa o Avarua project manager Alana Short, CIIC Minister Albert Nicholas, NZ High Commissioner Tui Dewes, Minister George “Maggie” Angene and CIIC CEO Allan Jensen. MELINA ETCHES/23111714
Dignitaries unveiled the Phase 1 Te Tau Papa o Avarua project signboards, marking the official start of the plan which includes infrastructure and landscaping activities to be carried out in Rarotonga’s main central business district.
Minister for the Cook Islands Investment Corporation
(CIIC), Albert Nicholas, was proud to launch Phase 1 of Te Tau Papa o Avarua
alongside his colleague, Minister George “Maggie” Angene, on Friday.
Nicholas said Te Tau Papa o Avarua represents the
envisioned future for the Avarua Township for the next 20 years, and symbolises
a collective effort to reinforce the foundation and enhance the landscape of
Avarua for the well-being of future generations.
The 20-year masterplan was developed in 2019, now,
four years later steps are being taken to reach the 20-to-30-year plan.
New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tui
Dewes, who also attended the event, said that it is fitting that they are supporting
this next phase of the Punanga Nui Market’s redevelopment, along with the
surrounding Avarua area. New Zealand has a long association and deep affection
for this area, and in particular Punanga Nui Market, which they have supported
the development of over the last 30 years.
The funding for Te Tau Papa o Avarua project, proposed
at $7.6 million, is through the joint Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF).
The ITF was established back in 2019, and Dewes said
that it is a funding mechanism they are quite proud of, in that it allows them
to work in genuine partnership on the Cook Islands’ priority project.
“It is a wonderful project, and Aotearoa New Zealand
is proud to be associated with it,” Dewes said.
Minister Angene said: “I’m so very happy, small things
have been happening, but this is the big project which will benefit the
Although some market vendors have expressed reluctance
to relocate from their current location, Angene stated that these individuals
should consider the original market’s placement in town, opposite the CITC Main
Angene said that even way back then people were
reluctant to move to the Punanga Nui, “but, look they are busy there now”.
He urges people to “wait until the job is finished,
before they talk”.
The project will be delivered by CIIC, involving
collaboration with key stakeholders and the public.
The key objectives are to improve walk and cycleways through
the Avarua township to Panama, restructure and future-proof the Punanga Nui
Market, and to improve the public toilets and recreational facilities in
The extensive year-long flora revitalising, tree
trimming, tree planting and maintenance programme has already started.
An information booth will be setup at the market where
vendors and public can access up to date project information, ask questions,
and provide feedback.
The construction plans for the new farmers market are
being finalised and construction is expected to start in the coming weeks.