22 Mar 2007

Cook Islands stadium gets funding in time for Games

3:27 pm on 22 March 2007

The 2009 South Pacific Mini Games will be hosted in the Cook Islands' new sports stadium thanks to a pledge of six million New Zealand dollars from the Chinese government.

Four million dollars of that is aid which was earmarked for the Nikao-Takuvaine highway project but which China has agreed to transfer to the multi-purpose indoor stadium.

The remaining two million dollars is a loan.

The foreign minister, Wilkie Rasmussen, who was behind the funding effort, says he is very excited about the stadium and believes it will attract many more visitors to the Cook Islands.

He says he hopes the stadium will be finished in time for the Games.

"We're hoping to start as soon as possible. We've got really one full year and a few months to have everything done. The Games is in the early part of 2009 so I think we're a bit behind by maybe a month or two but we hope to get back on track in maybe two months time."

The Cook Islands foreign minister, Wilkie Rasmussen.