In spite of the heavy rain yesterday morning, the church grounds at the village of Avatele, Oneonepata hosted the commencement ceremony for the China Aid Niue Road Upgrade Project, featuring a large banner flanked by several heavy machinery and large dump trucks.
The village pastor Rev. Petesa Sionetuato led the blessings for the day before the official speeches.
Representing the landowner families and the people of the village of Avatele was Hima Takelesi who said it was a privilege to represent the ancestors and the people of the village at this auspicious occasion.
Takelesi said that it is only fitting that the ceremony is held in the village because this project is for the people “And what better place to have it then where the people actually live. In the end when the project is finished, it will benefit not only the people of this village, but also the whole island, in terms of economic development”
Addressing Ambassador Wang Xialong, Douglas thanked him for choosing the village of Avatele to host the commencement ceremony and the placement of the commemorative plaque, saying the Avatele is ‘totally chuffed’ to be chosen as the village to host the event.
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Niue, His Excellency Wang Xialong flew in on Monday with his delegation especially for this occasion, joining Premier Dalton Tagelagi, Ministers of Cabinet, High Commissioners from New Zealand and Australia, Heads of government departments and the people of Avatele, along with around thirty of the Chinese workers.
Ambassador Wang remarked on this large scale infrastructure project for Niue funded by the Chinese Government, saying that the project is of great importance to both Niue and the PRC and for which the people of Niue have great expectation.
“The forty-six kilometres of road covered under this project is the traffic artery from the north to the south in Alofi, connecting the concentrated residential areas and office buildings.
I firmly believe the upgraded road will help to improve the local traffic and road safety, offer convenient travel for residents and positively boost the local economy and social development”, said Ambassador Wang Xialong.
Representing the Niue government, Minister of Infrastructure Hon. Crossley Tatui thanked the ancestors of the land on which the ceremony was being held, the landowners and the people of Avatele for allowing the event to take place on church grounds.
Minister Tatui said that the road upgrade project is proof of the warm and practical cooperation that the two nations share and continue to develop.
“Better roads will open up for more economic and social development opportunities. It will enhance tourism and agricultural activities, after all road infrastructure is the most important of all land-based public assets”, said Minister Tatui.
After the speeches, the crowd moved to the unveiling of the commemorative plaque at the entrance to Avatele beach, overlooking the Avatele Bay.
The commemorative plaque to mark the China Aid Niue Road Upgrade Project is placed alongside two monuments of much significance to the people of Avatele. First is the monument ‘Maka ha Misilao’ in remembrance of the English missionaries Francis Laws and his family of the London Missionary Society worked in Niue for many years. The second monument is the Avatele ANZAC monument in remembrance of the men from the village, who were part of Niue’s contributions to the WWI.
A luncheon banquet was held at the Scenic Matavai for all invited guests.