International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has kept true to a promise that he would visit the Cook Islands when he heaped praise on the nation during the 2020 Cook Islands Games for commitment to sport.
Formally welcomed by Prime Minister Mark Brown and other dignitaries, Mr Bach along with his delegation, touched down in Rarotonga on Thursday, where he also made time during his brief visit to unveil new signage at our National Stadium.
Cook Islands Investment Corporation chair Michael Henry says Te Ta’ua Emo’anga Nui – the National Stadium sign, is a joint initiative between Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) and Cook Islands Sports and the National Olympic Committee (CISNOC).
“It is among a host of initiatives to promote health and fitness and accessibility to sport infrastructure, and opportune to unveil while the President of IOC is in Rarotonga,” Henry says.
Prime Minister Brown says it was wonderful to welcome the IOC President and his delegation to our country.
“I recall Mr Bach addressed the opening of our 2020 Cook Islands Games during a time of tremendous apprehension around Covid and I shared with him what an uplifting experience the Games were,” he says.
“So it is with great pleasure to have him present in person with us today, without Covid restrictions and recognising the important role that sport contributes to the wellbeing of our country.”
The Maori name for the National Stadium, Te Ta’ua Emo’anga Nui, attests this place to be the eminent sporting grounds in the Cook Islands that brings together all Cook Islanders, visitors, and partners in a shared vision for active and healthier communities.
The indoor sports arena also has a new sign and Maori name -Te Are Emo’anga Nui withare, which means building, but can also be used for arena, emo’anga which means sports and nui to reflect the size of the building as the biggest indoor sports facility in the nation.
In April 2021, CIIC and CISNOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would see the two bodies work together to promote healthier and active lifestyles for Cook Islanders throughout the country through safe and sustainable operations of sports facilities and infrastructure.
The MOU promotes more effective and efficient management of national sporting facilities – including the National Stadium and Indoor Sports Arena – while also making clear what each party’s responsibilities and obligations are.
Tereora National Stadium holds approximately 5000 people and was originally built in 1984/85 with the last major refurbishment undertaken in 2007.
A total of $9m is estimated to undertake major upgrades and repairs to the stadium and the arena, expected to be phased across the next five years, and scoping of these works will be a collaboration between CIIC and CISNOC.
Planned improvements for the stadium and arena, recently submitted through the budget process include major works to the grandstand steel and concrete structure, electrical upgrade and new lights, new turf and irrigation system, replacement of the synthetic track and access improvement for disabled persons. Some of these works are expected to be undertaken in the next financial year, and progressively over the next five year period.