9 Oct 2003

Cook Islands Vaimaanga Hotel completion still on track

11:25 am on 9 October 2003

The developer of Rarotonga's Vaimaanga Hotel says he's in negotiations and will probably meet a deadline to reach agreement on the stalled project.

The owner of the unfinished hotel and its land, Cook Islands paramount chief Pa Ariki, says she's given New Zealand-based developer Tim Tepaki six-weeks to finalise details concerning the 30 million dollar project.

Mr Tepaki says he's busy negotiating the agreement but rejects any suggestion he's met difficulties.

He says he'll probably meet the deadline.

"So the funding is not an issue. The issue is trying to get all the relevant consents, contracts, licences and everything in place. That then proves up the funding. The funders then say, 'OK we'll fund that for you subject to this and this and this', you know? And that's where we are, trying to get all those consents and licences and agreements all put in place."

Pa Ariki says she has had offers from many other developers to complete the problem-plagued 65-room hotel but Mr Tepaki has given repeated assurances he can conclude a deal.

She says his aim has been to start work on the hotel, which is to be operated by the Hilton Group, on January 1.