China Gives Cooks More Than $7 Million In Machinery, Equipment

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Construction machinery, pearl farming equipment donated

By Phillipa Webb

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Jan. 29, 2015) – The special relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Cook Islands was celebrated yesterday, when more of the $10 million [US$7.3 million] worth of Chinese machinery and other equipment was handed over in a special ceremony.

The Chinese ambassador to the Cook Islands, Wang Lutong, handed over Chinese grant-funded projects of pearl equipment (managed by the Ministry of Marine Resources) and heavy machinery (managed by Infrastructure Cook Islands), valued at NZ$ 10.4 million dollars.

At the ceremony Prime Minister Henry Puna thanked China for their continued generosity and said the emphasis was now on maintaining the equipment.

"The longer we preserve it, the longer it will serve us."

The Chinese ambassador thanked Puna for his generosity and said infrastructural development was a large focus of China’s aid programme.

The Mayor of Aitutaki John Baxter and the Mayor of Manihiki, Ngamata Napara also spoke, expressing their gratitude that the islands were going to receive machinery of their own. Then Puna and Lutong conducted a signing ceremony, making the machinery handover official.

In March the machinery will be sent to the outer islands and will be used for a number of projects including road upgrades and maintenance.

Training is being provided for the operators, who will also be taught how to properly maintain the machines in a tough island environment.

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