15 Sep 2003

Hotel in Cooks may finally be built

7:17 am on 15 September 2003

Work may finally start on Rarotonga's much delayed Vaimaanga Hotel after the landowners, Government and developers reached an agreement in principle last week.

The developers, the Te Paki Group, hope to redevelop the Vaimaanga site using existing buildings.

They also want to reshape the lagoon and beach to bring the water close to the front of the hotel.

At the same time, they plan to build a 65 room hotel on Aitutaki featuring units built over the lagoon.

The New Zealand based developer, Tim Tepaki, from Wellington says both properties will be operated by the Hilton Group.

The group will own the lease on the Vaimaanga project while the Tepaki Group will retain ownership of the Aitutaki property.

Mr Tepaki says the key to the sucess of the five star hotels is linking them in a combined marketing plan.

The Prime Minister, Dr Robert Woonton, who is also Minister of Tourism says the developers and the representatives of landowner, Pa Ariki, are now dealing with details of the agreement.