President Trump might be confused when it comes to Whales and Wales, but not for us folks on the island; we know our whales well enough to know when we spot one. A few weeks ago, there had been reports of whales on the western side of the island towards Namukulu and Hikutavake. Well this morning, Thursday 13th two whales were spotted just off Alofi Bay.
The whale season for the island is usually from July to October but they have been known to arrive as early as May and as late as August and leave as late as early December. Visitors who come to the island to swim with the whales should remember that these are totally wild creatures and cannot be summoned on demand. Niue is one of only a handful of countries to allow swimming with the whales.
The injunction on the Liolau Project, started by the late village leader Aokuso Pavihi, was not intended to stop the venture but to ensure that land-owning families takes an active role in its execution. The project to convert the old village primary school to tourist accommodation is being funded by the European Union.
According to Esther Pavihi who continued the action after the death of her father, the court had ruled that the Niue Government must change the composition of the board overseeing the project to include three representatives from the land owning families. Prior to the court action there were no such representatives. The only representative from the village was the Village Council Chairman with ten others being appointed by the government.
Meantime a request has been received by the Council from government to use the original school building to accommodate the Chinese road builders who are due to arrive in four weeks. However, it is clear that it would be something of a building miracle if the renovations were to be completed in time to meet the deadline.
There is some support from the village for the proposal as this would mean that Avatele will have somewhere to hold village functions. It now seems that the request is to use the building under renovation rather the old original building.
New Assembly building
Another project that has come to a standstill is the new Fale Fono. Veteran politician Terry Coe had sought a court injunction to stop the work until ownership of the land can be established. There was also a question over the process of awarding the contract. Coe had alleged that the proper procedures for letting the contract had not been followed. The new Fale Fono is being built at the former site of the Education Department and the Niue Primary school.
There are reports that the Fale Fono at Sialekula is leaking in places.
Speaking of leaking, unlike the fiasco with NZ Treasury, there is not much chance of that happening to the government budget for the new financial year. The Minister of Finance Sir Toke Talagi is expected to introduce the budget at the next sitting of the House which is scheduled for Wednesday 19 June. Pundits have got their money on some kind of a sweetener from the Minister since this will be the last budget before the general elections early next year.