22 Mar 2007

Cook Islands stadium gets funding from China in time for Games

8:08 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 more than four million US dollars from the Chinese government.

Much of that money 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 money is a loan.

The Cook Islands foreign affairs 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 affairs minister, Wilkie Rasmussen.