18 Dec 2003

Major Cook Islands hotel project to be completed

4:42 pm on 18 December 2003

A deal has been signed in New Zealand to complete a major hotel in the Cook Islands after years of delay.

The Vaimaanga Hotel construction project can now be finished, including a new 204 room hotel, complete with an artificial island in the lagoon.

It will be called the Royal Takitumu hotel and be managed by the Hilton hotel group.

The agreement to finish it off and also build a second hotel has been signed by the Tepaki group of Wellington and the Cook Islands paramount chief, Pa Ariki, who says this will open new opportunities for tourists and for Cook Islanders.

"I'm very happy, I feel like crying, but I'm very happy. I know it has taken a long time. I'm happy for my people, especially for my prime minister and the government and the people because everybody is going to benefit. And especially I would like to thank Tim Tepake for putting it all up and Wilkie for doing this in such a short time and honouring what the prime minister has always wanted."