Construction of the new Manihiki Island Administration Building in Tauhunu has started with a ground-breaking ceremony held on Tuesday 3May.
A charter of government officials and building contractors, organised by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, travelled from Rarotonga to the Northern Group Island to mark the occasion.
The project is expected to cost about $580,000, with 95 per cent of the building materials required currently being stored in Tauhunu.
Remaining materials are scheduled to arrive on the Lady Moana mid-May.
Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) have engaged contractors and staff (predominately Manihiki based or of Manihiki heritage) and sourced materials from Cook Island suppliers to deliver the project.
CIIC Designer & Project Officer, Sally Hosking-Naea says the building will deliver core public services including Internal Affairs and Justice services and can accommodate 10 public servants as well as Bank of Cook Islands staff.
There will be an open planned office space, a conference room, two office spaces and staff amenities. The building will be constructed with concrete to help withstand the impacts of tropical cyclones and strong winds. It will also feature a suspended concrete floor on concrete piles to help dissipate waves in the event of a sea surge, Hosking-Naea says.
Mayor for Manihiki, Her Worship Ngamata Ngapara was pleased that the Government and contractors were present to witness this historical occasion. Marama Tuatoru, Manager of the BCI Manihiki Branch, thanked the Island Government for including BCI in this project. The Mayor acknowledged that BCI is a vital service to the island.
Tani Mussell has been appointed the Project Works Supervisor and will be responsible for leading and coordinating the construction. Born and raised on Manihiki, Tani is very familiar with environmental conditions, the people and their customs and says this project will provide an opportunity to upskill local capacity.
The Manihiki community is pleased that the project is finally coming to fruition. The ground breaking ceremony was witnessed by students of Manihiki School, the future of Manihiki.
Construction is expected to take three-four months.