The Avatiu project, undertaken by contractors Beca International Consultants, involved upgrading the domestic and international wharves, and deepening the harbour.
Mike Henry, chairman of the Board of the Cook Islands Ports Authority, said there was money left over to install additional facilities that were not originally planned. These include replacing three old cargo sheds, and installing extra lighting and a footbridge over the Avatiu stream to provide a direct passage to the Punanga Nui market.
The project was funded via a $27 million loan to the Cook Islands government by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
ADB deputy director general, Ayumi Konishi, said the harbour is important to the Cook Islands economy.
“Avatiu handles 90 per cent of Cook Islands’ imports by sea, and the country is heavily reliant on such imports to support its tourism, which accounts for over 50 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.
“Tourism earnings are expected to increase further as smaller cruise ships are now able to berth at Avatiu,” he said.