King Of Tonga Breaks Ground On Wharf Upgrade

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

$30 million project to improve Nuku‘alofa’s domestic wharf

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 21, 2016) – A major $66 million [US$30 million] upgrade of the domestic wharf in Nuku'alofa to be completed by 2018, was launched today with a groundbreaking by HM King Tupou VI, who was accompanied by Queen Nanasipau'u.

The project funded as a part of Japan's grant aid will include the extension of the domestic wharf and the building of a terminal for passengers and cargo.

The Japanese Ambassador HE Mr Yukio Numata said the new wharf symbolises Japan’s recognition of people in Tonga’s daily struggle due to the wide dispersal of its small islands. The new domestic wharf is envisioned to be a safe harbour for inter-islands vessels, while the passenger terminal building shelters people in transit.

He said the common spirit of islanders during the PALM 7 meeting is guided by the notions of human security and human development.

"These are the core objectives of the project but we also aspire to accelerate the modernizing process in Tonga by contributing to the nation’s economic growth in a sustainable manner."

He said this is especially so in relation to the passenger terminal building, which is multi-functional and could facilitate some of the events in the 2019 Pacific Games.

The new terminal is also based on the principle of universal design with gently sloped ramps at entrances and passageways, while the rooftop will have an independent solar system to pave the way towards energy efficiency and security. "These careful plans portray that together we can build a prosperous future towards a society where everybody benefits," he said.

"Today we are not simply commemorating the beginning of the work to build the new domestic wharf, but rather we are remembering the long-standing and cordial friendship between our nations based on our interdependence and mutual partnership. It is also important for all of us to work together as island nations for the safety of sea transportation to maintain maritime order."

Sea-trade

The Prime Minister Hon ‘Akilisi Pohiva expressed the Government of Tonga’s gratitude for the grant assistance from the Government and people of Japan.

He said a port is a gateway for economic development and key economic infrastructure that facilitates the movement of people and cargo in and out of our islands, encourages tourism and generates indirect and direct employment opportunities for the people of the Kingdom.

The project would help to better connect the island groups of Tonga.

TOA Corporation, a Japanese construction group will carry out the work.

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