The people of Pukapuka check out their new hospital during the opening ceremony on February. KO TINGA/21052831
Secretary of Health Bob Williams says he is pleased to see the difference the newly extended and refurbished Pukapuka Hospital has made to the island’s healthcare services.
“The completion of this project was of vital importance to
the healthcare of our people on both Pukapuka and Nassau,” said Secretary
Williams in a statement.
“The standard of care we are able to deliver them has now
been raised substantially.”
While the new Pukapuka Hospital was officially opened by
Prime Minister Mark Brown on his Northern Group mission in early February, at
that time there was still some tiling work and finishing touches to be
completed before the two-building complex was fully operational.
That work was completed by the end of February and the new
hospital has been serving the people of Pukapuka ever since.
Originally constructed some 60-odd years ago from limestone
and concrete, the old hospital formerly consisted of 14 rooms and offices
spread over two buildings.
Extensions to both structures means the newly upgraded
facilities now provide approximately 25 per cent more space, with four extra
rooms added to the hospital complex.
Accordingly, Pukapuka Hospital now boasts a new maternity
ward and delivery room, new men’s and women’s wards, a new kitchen, and a
dental clinic. Bathroom and shower areas have also been upgraded, the waiting
area has been extended, and a 50,000-litre underground concrete water tank has
Estimated total costs for the project were $1 million,
covering labour and materials, including vinyl flooring which was imported from
England after the New Zealand suppliers were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Te Marae Ora have sourced new beds and other equipment for
the hospital, while the Prime Minister also raised support from the government
of Japan to help furnish the new building.
The concept for the new Pukapuka Hospital was first
developed in 2015, with project implementation commencing in 2019.
Challenges arose in 2020 due to the effects of the Covid-19
pandemic on shipping and the availability of materials, which also coincided
with a run on building supplies in Rarotonga as the construction industry there
ramped up business during this period. This in turn affected the project
schedule, resulting in a nine-month construction period.
With construction now complete and the hospital fully up and
running these past few months, Cook Islands Investment Corporation would like
to acknowledge the many different individuals, groups and organisations
involved in bringing this important project to fruition.
Firstly, the people of Pukapuka and Nassau for their
contributions during the consultation phase on project scope and design,
including the dozen locals who later provided labour services. Pukapuka-Nassau
MP Tingika Elikana should also be recognised as a driving force in prioritising
the hospital rebuild for the people and communities of his constituency.
“Thanks, are also due to Te Aronga Mana o Pukapuka – Papa
Ariki and the Tawa leaders and council members – as well as island government
officials Mayor Levi Walewaoa and Executive Officer Pio Ravarua, along with
their administration staff and support networks.”
Others involved in the Pukapuka Hospital upgrade include
contractors Romani Katoa and Teariki Pirangi, consultants Des Eggelton and Tani
Mussel, and four CIIC staff of Pukapukan heritage who returned home for the
nine-month construction period.