After seven years of planning and work between the Tuapa village, government agencies and donors, the Ofaga he Pulotu Uhomotu Learning Centre was officially opened on Friday evening.
The centre was built annexed to the Tuapa Uhomotu community hall, funded by the Ridge to Reef project in collaboration with partners including the Niue government’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Project Management & Coordination Unit, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s International Waters Programme and the people of the village of Tuapa. Ridge to Reef in a project funded by the Global Environment Facility and UNDP.
The official speeches at the opening did not reveal the total funding of the project but BCN news understands from sources that this project cost an estimated NZ$200,000. The building is fully air-conditioned and completely run on solar power is furnished with state of the art computer system, large screens and a projector.
The centre was opened by the Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Mona Ainuu using the traditional ka toua and village Elder and former Common Roll MP Krypton Okesene with a canoe paddle to cut the garland of kapihi. The event was attended by the Premier and senior government officials as well as the representatives of NZ and Australia.
The chairperson of the Tuapa Village Council Sione Sionetama spoke of the work the village began in 2014 and their submission to the UNDP Ridge to Reef team which originally included 6 different ideas for projects but it was agreed to amalgamate all 6 projects into this one learning centre.
The Director General of the Ministry of Natural Resources Dr. Josie Tamate (pictured) spoke of the vision for this Learning Centre and the involvement of Ridge to Reef as a key partner in this venture.
“This is just a building. The important part is the information that we will gather, the information that we will have to share, the traditional knowledge for our future generations”.
“We will look at further collaboration with the Department of Education to have information for our kids and students. Also with Niue Tourism for when the borders open they will also have an opportunity to come and see what resources we have and what are the guidelines they need to know when they go to use our ocean”.
The Minister of Natural Resources who is also the member of parliament for Tuapa Hon. Mona Ainuu thanked the village and the partners from the government to the donors for their commitment to build the first such a centre in Niue. A place where traditional knowledge is shared by the elders and preserved for future generations.
BCN news contacted the Ridge to Reef office to confirm the total cost of the project but have yet to receive a response.