The result of a successful partnership between the Punanga Nui Market, Business Trade Investment Board (BTIB) and the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), the Punanga Nui ‘Drive To Revive’ initiative continues this week with the second Wednesday Night Market event.
Representatives from these three organisations meet every week to discuss feedback and plan new events, which have so far included live bands, a fashion show and a healthy living and fitness program.
“The support from the community to help revive the market has been overwhelming,” said market manager William Taripo.
“Mark Short and his famous family of drummers, along with some young dancers, have been performing for the past four weeks, since the very start of the Drive To Revive campaign.
“We’ve had various live bands too, including Papa Ru and the boys, as well as Harry and Tina. And the always popular Danny Mataroa has been our MC from the start.
“Looking ahead, we’re hoping to put on even more exciting new events over the coming month.”
Playing a major role in jump-starting the market again at Punanga Nui, the Drive To Revive campaign has seen a gradual increase in market vendors returning to the site over the past two months, although recently those numbers have started rising more rapidly.
Several brand-new vendors have also started touting their wares, including Boba Inu Cook Islands with their bubble milk tea and Churbros Rarotonga’s churros.
Existing vendor Luduina Williams says she is looking forward to the next night market in particular.
“Thank you to Punanga Nui, BTIB and CIIC for the Night Market Drive to Revive,” said Williams. “It was a great evening with lots of support from our people, locals and tourists – and the entertainment was awesome too.”
Keen to help keep the ball rolling, CIIC CEO Allan Jensen in conjunction with the Minister for Punanga Nui Market the Honourable George Angene and Associate Minister for CIIC the Honourable Albert Nicholas are pleased to announce that the rent holiday currently in place for stall holders and other market vendors will now be extended until the end of July.
“We are incredibly pleased with the new momentum the market has gained through our Drive To Revive Campaign and other associated events,” said Jensen.
“The work that BTIB and Punanga Nui staff have put into this is to be commended and thanks also goes to all our vendors who have helped breathe new life into our market once more.”