Auditorium renovations start

Tuesday August 11, 2020 Written by Published in Local
Raro Weld staff John Toa, left, and Michael Hoff working on the National Auditorium yesterday. RASHNEEL KUMAR 20081010/ 20081011 Raro Weld staff John Toa, left, and Michael Hoff working on the National Auditorium yesterday. RASHNEEL KUMAR 20081010/ 20081011

The $1.6 million renovation of the National Auditorium will keep the venue closed for the remainder of 2020.

The renovation which started on Wednesday last week is the first major refurbishment work since the opening of the auditorium in 1992. The venue is expected to reopen in January next year.

Cultural Development secretary Anthony Turua said various events that were scheduled to be held at the National Auditorium and/or the Domes in the coming months “will no longer be possible”.

Turua apologised to the clients who booked the venue. He said the contractors require the whole area to be cleared to ensure the renovations are completed safely and as scheduled.

Among the major events affected include the annual Cyclone Service and the biennial Cook Islands Tourism Awards.

The tourism awards which was initially supposed to be held in April has been postponed indefinitely.

Religious Advisory Council president Eric Toleafoa said they would be discussing their options for the Cyclone Service in their meeting this week.

“The Cyclone Service is normally held at the beginning and the end of the cyclone season which is November and April. We will either look at an alternative venue or wait for next year,” Toleafoa said.

Anthony Turua said other events that were scheduled for the coming months include birthday parties and weddings.

“A lot of these events have been deferred due to travel restrictions. Things have slowed down due to Covid-19 and it’s the appropriate time to carry out the renovations. We haven’t had any major renovations since the auditorium opened in 1992,” Turua said.

The first phase of the renovation work which include replacing and fixing steel frames, repainting and refurbishing the seats is being carried out by Rarotonga Welding and Steel Construction Limited (Raro Weld).

Turua said the major work involving the replacing of the roofing would start next month. It will be carried out by Cook Islands Investment Corporation.

“The new roof is expected to arrive from New Zealand in September, the replacement of the roof will be the major part of the project. The new roofs will be put at the two Domes while workers take down the old roof.

“Due to safety purposes, we also closed the Domes and will advise more safety restrictions when the roofing work starts in September.”

Turua is asking clients affected by the renovation work to contact Ministry of Cultural Development regarding their bookings in 2021.

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