|The underwater restaurant is lowered into place|
A massive underwater restaurant which was built in Taranaki has arrived at its new home in the Maldives, where it has been lowered into place beneath the waves.
The 415-tonne structure - the biggest of its type in the world - was created by Fitzroy Engineering in Waiwhakaiho and shipped out to tiny Hurawalhi Island.
The restaurant structure took just 19 days to arrive at its new home, in the Indian Ocean, where it was sunk on top of piles eight metres below the surface.
The foundations were then pumped full of concrete to hold the restaurant in place on the sea bed.
The work had to be carried out with extreme care because the island is surrounded by coral reefs and the engineers did not want to damage them.
Project manager Adrian van't Hof, who was at the site last week, said all had gone to plan.
"There's just a few little things we need to do now it's installed. It's basically 90 per cent finished," he said.
The work still to be completed includes heating, ventilation and air conditioning, but because the restaurant was ready-built, the clients, Champa‐Lars, were able enter as soon as it was in place.
van't Hof said three, 20-foot containers were currently being shipped to the island, and next month a team from Fitzroy Engineering would fly out to finish off.
The underwater restaurant is part of a larger restaurant development above the water.
Once a connecting jetty is completed up to 24 diners will simply walk down a staircase to their tables below the waves, where they will look out over coral and sealife.
The restaurant turned out to be not the only piece of New Zealand on - or under - Hurawalhi Island.
van't Hof, who was at the site last week, said he was surprised to see that all of the timber on the tiny outpost had come from New Zealand.
"There were 90 villas and they have all come from New Zealand," he said.