HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Close ties with China celebrated
Aitutaki, often used as the face of the Cook Islands in tourism promotions, and often described as the jewel of the Pacific, was the centre of attention during the weekend as the Cook Islands and China joined hands to mark 15 years of close relations. Cabinet Ministers, their spouses and officials traveled to Aitutaki with representative from China for the event.
The visit included a warm welcome by the people of Aitutaki, entertainment by dancers and travel to One Foot Island where Chinese representatives planted Tamanu trees to mark the occasion.
The government also took the opportunity to showcase the island to high level representatives of the People’s Republic, and present an ambitious development plan, which has now been endorsed by the leaders of Aitutaki.
The Orongo Project, is a concept that embraces economic, social and cultural development and allows for a strengthening of island administration.
Aitutaki leaders, including Mayor John Baxter and his Council, Michael Henry and island MPs, are promoting this development as the single most important project for Aitutaki’s future.
It involves plans to transform the harbour to allow for increased shipping and yacht visits, and envisages a new complex to house local government and the marketing of produce and other local goods.
The Orongo development will also preserve the cultural significance of the ancient marae by incorporating it into the new building structure.
Aitutaki has estimated the costs of the Orongo development to be in the vicinity of more than $15 million.
Government is optimistic that significant partnerships like that with the People’s Republic of China will assist with Aitutaki’s efforts to invest in the development.
After 15 years of close ties with China, this new initiative is providing both countries with an exciting challenge for the future.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

Copyright 2006 Cook Islands Herald online . All rights reserved.