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Te Tau Papa o Avarua: A 20-year masterplan to revitalise Avarua township unveiled

Monday 20 November 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Economy, Local, National


Te Tau Papa o Avarua: A 20-year masterplan to revitalise Avarua township unveiled
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 people.”

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 Store.

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 Panama.

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.


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