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Te Ipukarea Society Brochure 2017-18
Some of the many stakeholders and special guests who attended the workshop.

On the 15th and 16th of February Te Ipukarea Society staff attend the workshop titled ‘Legally Designating Marae Moana’ or ‘Ranga ia te Papa o te Marae Moana’ at the Muri Beach Club Hotel. For those who don’t know, Marae Moana is the Cook Islands Proposed Marine Park which is currently in the process of being formalised. The workshop objectives were 1) To discuss the pros and cons of closed pelagic (ocean) zones within Marae Moana, 2) To reach agreement on aspects of Marae Moana legislation 3) To agree on next steps and timeline.

Special guests to this workshop included Jon Day and Darren Cameron from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Justin Rose who is working as the Marae Moana Legal Analysist, and Steve Cranwell and Karen Baird, who represented Birdlife International and NZ Forest & Bird.

From Steve and Karen’s presentations, it was particularly useful for workshop participants to learn about the potential impacts of tuna fishing and deep sea mining on seabirds. For example tuna drive the food fish to the ocean’s surface, which is then harvested by seabirds – therefore if there are no tuna, there will be no fish for the seabirds to eat! Steve and Karen spent some time with TIS staff before and after the workshop. As TIS is the Birdlife partner for the Cook Islands, it is great to continue our links with the regional BirdLife office in Fiji (Steve) and our Birdlife partner organisation in New Zealand (Karen).

The workshop progressed the Marae Moana Marine Park towards the next stage, and the report of the workshop will be released shortly.

The Mangaian Kingfisher, known locally as Tanga’eo. Some of the Mangaia College students who were interviewed about the Tanga’eo, pictured with Jason (centre).

On Monday February 8th, Alanna, Liam and Jason Tuara flew to the island of Mangaia to re-commence work on the Jensen Mangaian Kingfisher Project. They were joined by Kelvin and Ian on Wednesday. The unique bird is found nowhere else in the world other than on Mangaia and it is therefore important to ensure the birds’ population remains stable. The local name for the bird is Tanga’eo – which is named so because of the sound of its call. The trip consisted of a number of objectives, to check on the Tanga’eo populations, to establish a site support group, and a last minute decision – to produce a video documentary on the Tanga’eo. It is estimated the Tanga’eo number 500 individuals on Mangaia although there is a lack of ongoing data to confirm this. Because of the bird’s restricted range and small population it has been listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

From day one, the TIS team conducted field research into known Tanga’eo habitats, and it was not long before they saw the birds and became accustomed to their call. Thankfully Liam and Alanna had the seasoned field worker Jason to lead them to these areas, and they were able to collect a good amount of photo and video footage of the birds. On Wednesday morning, the team visited Mangaia College and conducted interviews with selected junior and senior students to gauge what they knew about the Tanga’eo. After Kelvin and Ian arrived, the team returned to the college as Kelvin had been asked to do a presentation regarding purse seine fishing to senior students. Another highlight was on Thursday night when Kelvin, Alanna and Liam went on Mangaia TV to talk about their recent activities on the island and explain some of the other work that TIS does for the Cook Islands. During the down time Alanna and Liam were able to view many of the beautiful natural landmarks of Mangaia thanks to guide Jason. The team left Mangaia on Friday morning to return to Rarotonga. Alanna is now working on producing the Tanga’eo documentary which is to be aired on national TV in the coming months.

Te Ipukarea Society would like to thank the Jensen Foundation for funding the project, the people of Mangaia for opening up the entire island for Tanga’eo research and also for their hospitality. In particular, Allan Tuara for providing specialist knowledge of the islands biodiversity and explaining the history of the Tanga’eo Ranger’s conservation group, a past conservation initiative on the island.

Manager of the Bank of the Cook Islands, Vaine Arioka, presents the photograph of Jolene which will hang on the Woman of the Month Wall of Fame at BCI’s main branch in Avarua. Looking on are Woman of the Month committee members Neti Tamarua Herman and Lydia Sijp.

One of Te Ipukarea Society’s founding members, Jolene Bosanquet, has been recognised for outstanding service to the Cook Islands Community, spanning nearly 30 years, by being awarded the first Woman of the Month award for 2016. Apart from her passion for the environment put into action through Te Ipukarea Society, Jolene was also recognised for her contribution to sustainable tourism, the Business and Professional Women’s Association, the Pan Pacific South East Asia Women’s Association, sailing, and Cook Islands Virtues. Nobody deserves this award more than Jolene.

This picture taken at the Muri night market highlights the polystyrene/foam container problem in the Cook Islands.

It is no secret the waste problem in the Cook Islands, particularly on Rarotonga and Aitutaki, is an urgent issue effecting our environment. In 2016, TIS will implement a new waste management programme to address this problem. The project has three main areas:
1) Teaching youth the importance of using natural resources to fertilise the land through worm farms and compost bins. TIS has plans to install a brand new worm farm and compost bin in each school in the Cook Islands, as well as teach the students how to best utilise these scrap-consuming devices. TIS staff will also educate students about how to use the worm-tea and compost which are produced by the worm farm and compost bins, in order to fertilize their school or home gardens and boost plant growth. The Enviro-Squad of Araura College were the first school to receive a worm bin in late 2015.
2) The second part of the project will be to propose beneficial initiatives about efficient recycling systems, including an ‘Advance Recycle Fee’ which could finally solve the Cook Islands’ dire electronic waste problem. TIS is well qualified to do this, as they set up the first recycling centre based on Rarotonga in 1996. Currently there is no permanent system in place to dispose of electronic waste (e-waste) items in the Cook Islands. TIS aims to change this, and wants to help government introduce the ‘Advance Recycle Fee’ in order to fund an e-waste recycling centre.

3) An awareness programme targeting food vendors in order to replace polystyrene takeaway containers with biodegradable ones. Usually made out of bamboo or sugar-cane fibres, biodegradable containers are proven to be more environmentally friendly than polystyrene containers. In the right environment, biodegradable containers will break down within a year, while polystyrene containers take hundreds of years to break down (and even then, still only into tiny little pieces!). Vaine Angaanga Toa – an Enabled Women’s Collective (under the Creative Centre) has provided their support for Rarotonga’s switch to biodegradable containers, by adding biodegradable containers to their products for sale at their Punanga Nui Market stall. This will be of convenience to market vendors who currently have to travel to pick up more takeaway containers when stock gets low. Sales of these environmentally-friendly containers will generate a bit of income for Vaine Angaanga Toa.

Paul briefs the team of surveyors before they start their routes.

From 11th-13th January Liam worked with FBA, who are contracted to do invasive ant surveillance work at a number of sites at Auckland. NIAS is a very successful programme which has been fine-tuned through trial and error since its inception in 2001. The survey is undertaken during January and February when ants are most active and it is carried out at every international port in New Zealand. While Liam was with FBA they were based at the Auckland Airport. A group of university students are employed by FBA over summer and Paul Craddock leads the team.

The process of ant surveillance starts with the laying out of baited specimen pots – alternating between protein (peanut butter, oil and sausage meat) and carbohydrate (cotton dipped in sugary water) at spaces of 10 metres. The students carry a GPS which has a barcode scanner, and each pot is scanned upon put-down, this provides data which is used to create very impressive maps of the surveyed areas.

The pots are left for two hours for ants to find the bait before being picked up and scanned again. At the end of the day hundreds of specimen jars are taken back to FBA diagnostics for identification. Liam found it very interesting working in the laboratory identifying ants, and on the third day he was introduced to Disna Gunawardana from Ministry of Primary Industries and given a tour of the MPI entomology laboratory and shown their invasive species specimen collection. Lastly, Liam was introduced to Souad Boudjelas of Pacific Invasives Initiative and had a very productive meeting with her. Liam would like to thank Paul and Disna for hosting him and Souad for organising the attachment.

Ranger Lo retrieves a rat from a DOC 200 trap just outside the pest-proof fence. One of the beautiful views from Tawharanui Regional Park

While in New Zealand for the Christmas holidays, Liam participated in two separate work attachments in the fields of biosecurity and conservation. The first of which was a three day attachment at Tawharanui Regional Park and the second was with Flybusters Antiants (FBA) during the annual National Invasive Ant Surveillance (NIAS) programme, also for three days. While at Tawharanui from the 4th-6th Jan, Liam spent time with three Auckland Council Park Rangers (David on Monday, Maurice on Tuesday and Lois on Wednesday) to learn more about how the rangers run this regional park and the conservation activities that take place.

Tawharanui is 90km north of central Auckland and is New Zealand’s first integrated open sanctuary – where farming, recreation and conservation of native species combine behind a predator proof fence. During Liam’s time at Tawharanui, he was given a tour of the Council buildings and native tree nursery, observed public relations between rangers and campgoers, performed maintenance work, fed endangered Takahe, and assisted in re-baiting and setting of baitlines. Liam took many ideas and skills away from this attachment which may be of benefit to the Cook Islands and would like to thank the Park Rangers for being such great hosts and Matt Maitland and Steve Cranwell for organising the

Paul and Liam (front, centre and far right) listen to one of the presentations at IUCN ORO in Suva.

From 7-11 December Liam was in Fiji representing Te Ipukarea Society and Marae Moana at a regional meeting for Large MPA’s titled Strengthening Cooperation between Large Marine Protected Areas in the Pacific. Paul Allsworth was also there representing Cook Island traditional leaders (Koutu Nui). The meeting lasted for three days (8th-10th December) and involved a number of presentations from Paul and Liam, as well as engaging with the other participants in order to achieve the meeting’s goals and to learn from one another. This meeting is held annually and organised by IUCN Oceania Regional Office.

The meeting had a number of outputs, including the sharing and updating of information regarding conservation activities occurring in respective MPA’s (including marine spatial planning, biodiversity data, invasive species eradication and restoration of species and habitats) and exchange of lessons learnt between established MPA’s with those in early implementation stages (eg. Marae Moana). The meeting provided a forum for exchange of knowledge on legal aspects of MPA’s and discussed ways to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Paul and Liam also helped the IUCN ORO to plan for the next proposed meeting which will be in the Cook Islands this year.

The second protest march brought over 300 Cook Islanders together to make a stand against purse seine fishing. Individuals from both the oldest AND youngest sections of our community were there to represent our people at the march.

On the 21st November a group of over 300 protesters marched through Avarua, calling out to the government to stop purse seine fishing in the Cook Islands. This day also happened to be International Fisheries Day. The protesters were not fazed by the rainy start to the march, determined to make their concerns be heard, they marched from Avarua harbour through town ending at the reclaimed land beside Punanga Nui market. Te Ipukarea Society staff not only provided support for organising the march but also the provided well-informed information on the anti-purse seining debate for a number of local and foreign media groups who have been closely following the issue.

This march follows the first anti-purse seining march which was held on the 24th April this year. After this initial march, a petition featuring the signatures of more than 4,000 people was presented on June 12th. Despite these clear messages from the people of the Cook Islands that they do not want purse seine fishing in their waters, the Government has not only ignored them, but they have actually continued to sell further purse seine fishing licenses to foreign countries. The latest controversy is that the Ministry of Marine Resources is hoping for Cabinet is to sign a $9.6million dollar deal to allow a fleet of Spanish super-seiners (under the European Union) to fish in the Cook Islands for eight years or longer.

The anti-purse seining campaign has also received the support of the Aronga Mana, local fishermen, community groups and the general public. We would like to say meitaki ma’ata to all those who have financially contributed funds towards the campaign.

A court case is currently in progress, in which the countries traditional leaders or Aronga mana has teamed up with Te Ipukarea Society, to stop the government issuing a purse seine fishing licence to the European Union. Justice Grice declined the Crown’s application to strike out the petition and has adjourned the case until mid-March.

Sabine was kept busy by not only kids, but also adults who were interested in her re-purposed creations. June explains the composting ‘circle of life’ to fascinated students.

This year’s annual Lagoon Day was held on the 22-23rd October. This year TIS Sponsored Lagoon Day through paying for the use of the Rongohiva big screen, which was fully utilised in displaying numerous environment-related advertisements and short documentaries over the two days. The kids loved watching these clips while they were on their breaks!

Lagoon Day 2015 hosted over 1000 Cook Islands students and adults, and was a great opportunity for Cook Islands kids to learn more about how to look after their natural environment. Lagoon Day does not only focus on issues affecting the lagoon – but also those affecting the land and the ocean – as they are all interconnected.

Areas of learning included: climate change, ozone depleting substances, pearl cultivation, wetland Eco services, how to recycle rubbish through weaving, and planting seedlings in organic objects such as banana stems and eggshells, just to name a few!

Te Ipukarea Society’s display board featured a number of visuals which explained the projects we have been and are currently involved in. The main focus of our display was our worm farm which we brought over from our Tupapa office for the event, the kids loved lifting the lid and observing the miniature ecosystem within. Liam was there to explain the purpose of the worm farm, which is an environmentally friendly way of getting food scraps and other biodegradable materials out of landfills and fire pits, and he also showed the end-product – the compost and liquid fertilizer (tea), and explained the usefulness of these products for growing plants. One of the questions in the student’s questionnaire was “what is worm tea?”, and Liam was able to provide this information to the students. The TIS display also contained a selection of biodegradable containers, and a number of student posters from their Cook Islands Schools Poster Competition earlier this year. Sabine Janneck helped man the display and her recycled rubbish purses and baskets proved a real crowd favourite!

The event has been growing each year since its inception in 2008. TIS would like to congratulate all the students who presented during the Lagoon Day, June Hosking for organising the event, and all the sponsors for helping to make the event a success!

Mat Rima from NES educates the kids on native plants

On Friday 2nd October Liam was fortunate enough to join a school trip of Titikaveka College students up to the Takitumu Conservation Area. The trip was led by TCA staff Ian Karika and Tom Daniels as well as a number of NES staff. This was Liam’s first trip to the TCA and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Liam learnt a lot about the history of the area, the history of the Kakerori conservation project, and masses of information about our native (and invasive) plants and their traditional uses. Many students managed to catch a glimpse of Rarotonga’s rarest endemic bird – the kakerori, as well as learning much about nature conservation. Liam would like to thank the TCA and NES staff for allowing him to attend the trip.

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