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By Mona Matepi

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (February 4, 1999 - Cook Islands News)---Vaimaanga Hotel Project landowner Pa Ariki is pleased with the outcome of last week’s court decision on the long delayed development.

The court decision confirmed a new 60 year lease to the Hawaiian based companies, Max Holdings, Ltd. and The Castle Group, finally gives the former Sheraton project great hopes of completion by June 2000.

The lessees have made construction arrangements with the well known Fletcher Pacific group.

"It has taken a lot of effort to get this far, but I am proud that I have been able to play my part in getting the hotel project back on the rails," said Pa Ariki.

In a press release, Pa said sustained efforts to revive the project often times brought her into direct conflict with government, which eventually came to a head early 1998. Pa then forfeited the former lease with the government and re-possessed the property.

As it is, Pa owns all fixed assets on the property and wants the government to decide what to do with the chattels.

Government’s Investment Corporation would not make any comment until they "get something official."

Pa, however, is critical of Cook Islands News’ recent reference to a $300,000 goodwill for the lease, saying that was a personal matter of which the repercussions have been less than positive for her.

"I get people ringing [me] up and asking for a loan, and that is not on. There are other things to take care of, and I still have to pay my lawyer," she said.

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