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Rarotonga businesses ready to weather the storm

Friday 16 February 2024 | Written by Candice Luke | Published in Business, National, Weather


Rarotonga businesses ready to weather the storm
The CITC Mainstore in Avarua yesterday afternoon. CHRIS ROWE/24021550/ 24021551

People, protocols and preparation were a key focus for businesses yesterday as gale force winds lashed the north eastern side of Rarotonga.

The adverse weather conditions including rain and high sea swells were caused by a tropical depression which was expected to intensify into a category one cyclone last night.

Avatiu Port is closed until further notice with port staff on standby for the next 48 hours.

Harbour master John Jessie says his team has been prepared for weeks.

“We’ve already activated our emergency procedures. All the ships have evacuated, and all of the boats in the marina have been taken out of the water to a secure area.”

Shipping containers remain on-site at the port but they have been dropped down to a single tier. The occupants of the port sheds have secured their sites. 

Jessie warns against activity in the harbour: “There is strictly no swimming.” 

Around the corner at Sea Monster Café, owner Komera Dean said it’s business as usual. 

“Move everything out of the way and lock everything down. That’s all we can do, and hope for the best.” 

The Edgewater Resort and Spa staff have been briefed and emergency protocols are in place.

“We’re ready to activate them should we see further developments in the weather, if it gets worse over the next few days,” says general manager Melissa Gosselin. 

“It’s quite a big operation but fortunately at this time of the year there aren’t too many guests around,” she says.

Castaway Resort managing director Paul Ash was on the lookout for sea surges, remembering New Year’s Day 2020, when ex-tropical Cyclone Sarai smashed the western side of Rarotonga.

“We’ve been here before but not for a long time. We’re preparing; not so much for the wind and the rain, more for the water surge if it comes up. That’s the one you’ve got to watch out for. It’s the water surge that does the damage.” 

The Lazy Trout Café and Restaurant is temporarily closed. They plan to reopen on this Saturday weather permitting.

Brews and Scoops at Nikao Social Centre closed yesterday, and an online post said they would open today weather permitting.

Vaiana’s Bistro and Bar postponed their live fire show until next Thursday.