Avaroa Cable Limited board member Tatiana Burns (left), next to New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Tui Dewes, Minister for Telecommunications Patrick Arioka, and Asian Development Bank representative Lavinia Tama (right). Photo: AVAROA CABLE LIMITIED/22072040
Government officials along with representatives from Avaroa Cable Limited (ACL), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the New Zealand High Commission to the Cook Islands attended the opening ceremony of a new cable landing station in Aitutaki last week.
The official opening was held on July 11, following the successful opening and construction of a landing station for the Manatua cable system in Rarotonga earlier this year.
Like the landing station in Rarotonga, the new building
has been designed to house certain equipment which can receive the cable, along
with plant and standby generator systems that help to maintain operations
during power outages.
It will also help boost international connectivity across
the country while allowing people in the Cook Islands to fully engage with the
rest of the world and access faster and more affordable internet.
“The new facilities represent years of planning,
hard work, and dedication from the ACL team, to ensure that the Manatua Cable
project was successfully implemented,” said Avaroa Cable Ltd in a press release
provided to Cook Islands News.
“The opening events (for both Rarotonga and
Aitutaki) were also an opportunity to thank key stakeholders, including landowners
and the Cook Islands donor funding partners, the Asian Development Bank, and
the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”
According to the programme for the event, guests
were welcomed by Pastor Charlie Taamo from Aitutaki who blessed the new landing
station, with opening remarks for the ceremony made by the mayor of Aitutaki,
Okesene Moananu, who is the First Secretary
(Development) of the New Zealand High Commission to the Cook Islands, also gave
a speech, along with Lavinia Tama, who represented the Asian Development Bank,
and Mike Schwarz, who is the chief executive officer for Avaroa Cable Limited.
Their speeches were followed by closing remarks
from Richard Williams, the board director of ACL, along with the cutting of the
ribbon for the station by Mike Henry, the chair of the Cook Islands Investment
“The entire ACL team has worked very hard to
complete the state-of-the-art cable landing facilities in Rarotonga and
Aitutaki,” said Schwarz.
“Through diligent operations and ongoing
maintenance activities, our local engineering team has ensured that there has
been no downtime since the Manatua cable began service in July 2020.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic has caused challenges,
competition is coming,” he added.
“ACL will continue to work with the existing
internet service providers and any new entrants to make sure that the benefits
of this fantastic cable system get passed along to the people of the Cook
Patrick Arioka, who is the Minister for
Telecommunications, in a statement said that ACL had made a significant
achievement in undertaking the project and delivering it on time and within
“The technologically sophisticated new facilities
in Rarotonga and Aitutaki are evidence of a long-term government initiative to
transform the telecommunications market, and our people should be proud of this
investment in our country.
“We encourage all licensed internet service
providers to make the most of this wonderful investment and use the cable to
pass along cheaper, faster, and more reliable services to the Cook Islands
Lavinia Tama, who represented ADB at the ceremony,
said: “On behalf of ADB, I congratulate the government of the Cook Islands,
Avarua Cable Company, and the project team for successfully implementing the
Manatua cable system, including the critical infrastructure of cable landing
“Even with restricted movement due to the Covid
pandemic during the final phase of the project, the team did an excellent job
to meet the final milestone on time and within budget.
“With the Manatua cable system, Cook Islanders now
have access to the entire world whether it is for business, leisure,
entertainment, education, health services, and many others.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the government on future opportunities for the Cook Islands.”