Tokelau is set to benefit from the upgrade of reef passages and the construction of four new wharves on the Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo atolls
Green light for Tokelauan infrastructure
Tokelauans are set to benefit from safer and more reliable ship-to-shore operations, with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade funding the upgrade of reef passages and the construction of four new wharves on the Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo atolls.
The works – which will be undertaken by Australian dredging and civil construction company Hall Contracting – are expected to commence in May and conclude in November 2019. The Government of Tokelau has commissioned the project.
Hall Contracting CEO Cameron Hall says that at present, tidal and weather conditions regularly impact scheduled deliveries, delaying the supply of goods. “Tokelau is reliant on these operations for transporting passengers and goods, so it’s vital that they can operate smoothly moving forward,” he says.
“The existing channels afford little protection from swell and are incredibly exposed, so widening and deepening the reef passages will enable ship-to-shore vessels, smaller fishing boats and inter-island vessels to navigate the area more easily and safely.”
The works will provide increased shelter from wave action and have been designed to minimise the need for regular maintenance. Hall Contracting will also upgrade the existing wharf and ramp structures on the various atolls as part of its work in Tokelau.
Training the locals
Mr Hall says a number of Pacific Islanders have been recruited to support the team of 13 Australian expatriate workers from Hall Contracting. “We’re proud to have 14 skilled Samoan workers joining our team in Tokelau and are also looking to hire a number of Tokelauans,” he comments.
“The local workers will be trained in the use of small tools, concreting and general labouring duties, which will contribute positively to the economies of Pacific Island communities.”
Mr Hall says that while the project is the first the company will undertake in Tokelau, Hall Contracting has successfully delivered a range of works funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“Our team has been servicing the Pacific Islands for more than 10 years, with a particular focus on remote civil, dredging and marine projects,” he says. “Some of the works we have delivered in the past include the repair of a storm breach and filling of ‘borrow pits’ on Tuvalu’s Funafuti atoll, as well as construction of a seawall on the Nukufetau atoll, which assists in protecting locals from the impacts of climate change.
“Our upcoming project in Tokelau will be carefully staged over a year and a half, with the first wharf being built on Atafu, closely followed by a second on Nukunonu later this year.”
The remaining two wharves will be constructed on Fakaofo Fale and Fakaofo Fala in 2019.