Major works on the Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development’s buildings, complex and roading infrastructure have been completed just in time to successfully host the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM52).
Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development (MoCD) and Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) in a coordinated and collaborative effort, implemented plans in May 2023 to undertake the works.
PIFLM52 will be held at Te Puna Korero, the focal location for the forum, which is being chaired by Prime Minister Mark Brown and will take place from 6-10 November.
Other key stakeholders who contributed to the success of the works were Corrective Services, the Ministry of Education and Apii Avarua, Minister of Culture George Angene’s Office, Te Aponga Uira, contractors and hostel administrators.
CIIC Asset Management Division General Manager Vasie Ngatoko-Poila says over 60 personnel have been involved with this project across all key partners, stakeholders, and contractors.
Works commenced on 21 August and significant upgrades were completed in the following areas:
- Decommissioning and replacing the streetlights along Constitution Avenue
- Major remedial works to the VIP room
- Electrical upgrades to the building and walkways
- Painting of library & museum and all cobblestone walkways, covering a combined area of approximately 1000m2
- Rehabilitate and install new flag poles
Projects managed by ICI included road rehabilitation works, road widening, new footpaths, rehabilitation of existing footpaths and construction of surface drains along Constitution Avenue and Victoria Road.
Remedial works to vehicle access ways, tree removal and trimming and road drainage works were also completed.
Public bookings for use of the National Auditorium and Domes were closed for the months of September and October, to allow for works to progress.
One of the key challenges during the project included traffic management arrangements with Apii Avarua.
But through early communication and intervention, plans and arrangements were put in place to mitigate and prioritise student health, safety, and access to Apii Avarua.
Other challenges were coordinating and facilitating work between multiple contractors and agency staff, while the Library, Museum, Corrective Services and MoCD continued to operate on site. Limited material supply also caused minor issues.
“Fortunately, we’ve had mostly good weather over recent weeks.”
“Fortunately too, we have had great support from the public. We wish to express our sincere ata wai wolo to the public, and in particular, the users of the roads, surrounding hostels and the Avarua School community for their understanding and patience during these works,” said Secretary of ICI, Elizabeth Wright-Koteka
Acting Secretary Emile Kairua says there has been nothing but positive feedback from members of the public about the work happening at the National Auditorium.
“Proud to see all agencies and teams come together to get the work done in time for the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting,” he says.