New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully left for the Cook Islands Thursday to attend a ground-breaking ceremony on a major water-project partnership with China and the Pacific island nation. The Te Mato Vai project on Rarotonga is a partnership between New Zealand, China and the Cook Islands to replace the island's aging water network with an investment of 65 million NZ dollars ( 53.64 million U.S. dollars). "Our commitment to the innovative Te Mato Vai project will promote further development in the Cook Islands while safe- guarding tourism gains," McCully said in a statement. The partnership is the first development project of its type in the Pacific and was announced at the Pacific Islands Forum annual leaders meeting in the Cook Islands in 2012. McCully would also attend the third New Zealand-Cook Islands Joint Ministerial Forum. "These annual ministerial talks reflect the value we place on our unique constitutional relationship of shared citizenry and currency," McCully said. "The discussions will cover a range of topics including economic reform, regional and international issues and New Zealand 's substantial development program."