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Te Ipukarea Society Brochure 2017-18
The men of Mitiaro fishing for flying fish (maroro) from traditional canoes (paiere) with their large scoop nets. Some of the Maroro which is caught is processed (sun-dried) to create dried fish (ika maro).

Kelvin Passfield and Graham and Mary MacDonald returned to Mitiaro in September with hopes of collecting more footage on the fishing of the annual flying fish spawning (maroro tu). Last year TIS was successful in obtaining funding under the UNESCO participation programme to produce a documentary about the maroro tu, the fishermen who take advantage of this natural phenomenon, and the traditions behind it. In late October and early November 2014 Kelvin, Graham, Mary, and Paolo Cattania travelled to Mitiaro to start work on the project. During this first trip, a number of interviews were conducted with members of the community. Kelvin went on his own for a second trip in August 2015, however wasn’t successful in getting footage due to unfavourable weather conditions, instead Kelvin used his time to get good footage of the sustainable tuna fishery on the island which also uses traditional fishing methods.

This latest trip which lasted from the 18th to the 25th of September was ideal, with Kelvin managing to get a large amount of quality video and images of the maroro tu. This footage will be given to documentary editor Paolo to create the final product, which is hoped to be completed by the end of the year. As his first two trips have not been ideal for underwater filming, Graham may be able to return to Mitiaro one last time in an effort to get some good underwater footage. It is all a matter of being in the right place at the right time!

The TIS and Red Cross teams merged for a successful clean-up of the Tupapa beachfront and roadside.

On Friday the 18th of September a group of TIS members took part in the ‘Clean up the World Day’. Kelvin, Teina, Liam and Miraflor from The Dive Shop in Avarua (one of our new corporate sponsors) all gathered on the beach in Tupapa to pick up rubbish. The TIS contingent teamed up with the Red Cross group and cleaned up the Tupapa coastal area from Club Raro to the TIS office, and some of us even cleaned up the Tupapa main road while walking back to our cars at Club Raro! Meitaki maata to Moana from NES who came by our office to pick up our rubbish (two large rubbish bags and Teina’s two cardboard boxes) and to Matthew who gave us the disposable gloves and rubbish bags to do the job.

TIS would like to congratulate all those who helped organise or took part in Clean up the World Day, all your hard work has helped make our local environment look more beautiful. Unfortunately, picking up rubbish does not solve the root of the rubbish problem, as the real problem lies with people’s consumption patterns, importers and the food-packaging culture which produces the huge amount of waste which not only litters our shores and waterways but also fills up our landfill.

Vakaho and Tokoteru receive the signboard from Liam

On Monday 17th August, Te Ipukarea Society Project Officer Liam Kokaua visited the Rakahanga Hostel to present prizes to three of the students of Rakuraku School. Rierson Tupou, who was at school at the time, won the 4-7 age category and received a $50 Bounty Bookshop voucher and $150 for their school. Vakaho Takai who won the 16-20 age category, received a cheque for $200 and $150 for her school. Tokoteru Tarau, winner of the People’s Choice award (voted by the public) won a $40 voucher to the Whale & Wildlife Centre, a double pass on the Raro Reef Sub and a hand-made purse made of recycled materials. Meitaki ma’ata to the Whale & Wildlife Centre, Raro Reef Subs and Sabine Janneck for sponsoring the People’s Choice Award. Loveinio Oti who won the 8-11 age category has since relocated to Mitiaro and received his voucher from Kelvin during his visit to the island. Having 3 of the 4 age category winners, Rakuraku School received a total of $450 for their school, which has been received by Principal Bazza Ross. Mr Ross had the following to say: “On behalf of our students at Rakuraku School, we are grateful to have been included in this project. Our school is currently working on Climate change and investigating Life processes and Environmental factors that affect them…so the timing was right for our artists”.

In total, 4 age category prizes and a People’s Choice Award were up for grabs. The other prize went to Taylor Tara from Araura College, who won the 12-15 age category. She is back in Aitutaki however she has received a $150 Bounty Bookshop voucher and $150 for her school for her poster.

Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) is concerned with what it sees as the Government’s lack of transparency over the issuing of fishing licences.

TIS which has been voicing concern over the purse seine fishing issue for most of the year, has presented an anti-purse seine fishing petition to Parliament bearing 4000-plus signatures.

The organisation’s technical advisor, Kelvin Passfield, says TIS is concerned that, in spite of the voting public asking for a ban on purse seining, government has since issued licences to at least two additional fishing companies to fish in Cook Islands waters.

He says this has been done without any disclosure to the public.

CI News sent an email to the Ministry of Marine Resources secretary Ben Ponia on Friday last week, asking questions about the additional fishing licences, but has yet to receive a response.

And Clerk of Parliament, John Tangi, could not be reached for an update on the petition as he was out of the country. He was expected to return to Rarotonga late yesterday.

However, in June, CI News reported that Murienua MP James Beer would table the petition in parliament once Tangi and his team had checked the credibility of the petition and the signatures, and once the Speaker of the House had sanctioned it.

Beer said he would ensure all the views and concerns of the campaign were properly dealt with in parliament.

Passfield says TIS believes the issuing of licences to two additional fishing companies is in direct contravention of the Marine Resources Act 2005.

“This is because purse seine fishing using FADs (Fishing Aggregate Devices) is contributing to the over-exploitation of bigeye tuna stocks.”

The Act, Passfield says, says that the secretary or minister as appropriate should make decisions based on the best scientific evidence available and be designed to maintain or restore target stocks at levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield and as qualified by relevant environmental and economic factors.

He says the Act also states a precautionary approach should be applied and that the impacts of fishing on non-target species and the marine environment should be minimised while making decisions regarding issuing of the fishing licences.

The issue of extra licences being issued came to Passfield’s attention after Ponia did a television interview on Mangaia where he had traveled to present his side of the purse seine fishing issue to island residents.

“In that interview he was asked about purse seine boats licenced to fish in the Cook Islands exclusive economic zone,” Passfield said.

“He responded that a US fleet, Korean companies, and a New Zealand company, were all licenced for purse seining in the Cook Islands.

“This is particularly worrying because up until Ponia’s interview, the public had only been told about the 40 boats in the US purse seine fleet, the involvement of Korean company Silla, and the intention of future negotiations with the European Union.

“Now we hear about Korean companies (plural) and a New Zealand company. When did these come into the picture and who are these companies?

“How many boats are there and how many fishing days have been granted to these additional boats?

“Are they allowed to use FADs, and was there any public consultation on these additional licences?”

There are strong opinions on both sides of the purse seine fishing debate, with Finance Minister Mark Brown saying earlier this year that banning purse seining in the Cook Islands was not the solution.

He said the country was expected to collect over $12 million in fishing licence fees in this financial year and added that banning purse seining would mean giving away that revenue to neighbouring countries

- Cook Islands News, 12th August 2015

IAN Karika has been re-elected president of the Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) for another term.

The well-known environmentalist and traditional voyager had the support of members at the organisation’s annual general meeting a week ago.

TIS technical director Kelvin Passfield says Dame Margaret Karika remains as patron, as she has been with the organisation since it was formed in 1996.

Teina Mackenzie was elected vice-president, Jolene Bosanquet treasurer and Inano McMurchy secretary.

A new executive committee was elected, made up of Avaiki Aperau, Helen Greig, David Furnell and Sabine Janeck.

In addition, the AGM agreed to award lifetime membership to those who have been members of TIS since its initiation.

They include Kelvin Passfield, Ana Tiraa, Jacqui Evans, Ian Karika, Tamara Suchodolsky, Ed Saul and Jolene Bosanquet.

- Cook Islands News, 30th June 2015

Time is nearly up for people to vote for their favourite piece in The Cook Islands Environment Poster Competition.

A judging panel consisting of representatives from Tourism Cook Islands, Koutu Nui and Te Ipukarea Society have already selected four category winners, but voting for the People’s Choice Award is still running.

The posters are currently on display at Westpac Bank, and will remain there until this Friday when the winners are announced.

The competition focussed on the aim of Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) to protect and sustain the marine environment through good behaviour and guardianship.

This includes showing respect for marine ecosystems through actions which prevent un-necessary reef-walking or damage to coral heads, not feeding lagoon fish with bread to maintain healthy food-chains, respect for the Raui, not littering on beaches and not over-fishing.

Schools and individuals from ages four to 20 were required to produce a poster in either Cook Islands Maori or English to help portray these environmental messages.

There are 110 entries in total from schools all over the Cook Islands, including Araura Primary/College and Vaitau School on Aitutaki, Rakuraku School on Rakahanga, Mauke School, Niua School on Pukapuka, Lucky School on Palmerston, Omoka School on Penrhyn and Te Uki Ou School, Titikaveka College and Nukutere College on Rarotonga.

There are four prizes for four age groups including four to seven year olds, eight to 11 year olds, 12 to 15 year olds and 16 to 20 year olds.

Prizes include voucher valued between NZ$50 and $200 for individuals and $150 for their school.

Overall winners will have their work featured in a combined poster which will be displayed on an outdoor sign to be erected at several Raui locations around Rarotonga.

The poster with the most votes from the public will receive the ‘People’s Choice Award’ which includes a special prize sponsored by Rarotonga Reef Subs, Whale Research Centre and Sabine Janneck from TIS.

Tokoa Harmon from Westpac Cook Islands says they are honoured to be able to display the posters for TIS.

She says Westpac promotes environmental awareness and they want to make sure the Cook Islands remains a beautiful and sustainable place to live.

“We invite the Cook Islands community to come into our Branch this week and view the children’s creative posters,” Harmon says.

The Avarua branch will be open from 9am till 3pm each day and anyone can go in that time to place their vote.

- Cook Islands News, 24th June 2015

It’s been a long road for anti-purse seine campaigners, but all their hard work finally came together yesterday.

The passionate protestors brought forward a 4,000 signature petition to Members of Parliament, and stood strong and proud with their banners, posters and t-shirts.

The signatures were presented on a long line of pareu to reflect the 1996 petition to stop the transport of nuclear waste through the Pacific.

Clerk of Parliament, Pastor John Tangi stood ready to welcome and accept the petition on behalf of parliament, saying he would ensure it was all in order before presenting it in the House.

Tangi thanked those who instigated this major undertaking, and said arrangements had been made with government and the MP in charge of representing the petition, James Beer.

Kelvin Passfield of Te Ipukarea Society, who led the campaign, thanked the Members of Parliament who came out to greet the protestors today.

“We very much appreciate the fact that you have made yourself available for what seems to be quite a historical event,” Passfeild told the MPs.

He said they presented over 4,000 signatures, which by his calculations, is at least half of the people who voted in the last election.

“This should send a very clear message to parliament that the people of the Cook Islands are not happy with the whole purse seine issue and that we are asking for change to the way things are being managed.”

He said it was a relief that the campaign is finally all over, because it had been a lot of work and there had been a lot of chasing around involving the petitions in the outer islands.

“We are looking forward to the results of this whole process now, and we really don’t think government can ignore it with that amount of signatures.”

James Beer will table the petition in parliament once Pastor Tangi and his team have checked the credibility of the petition and the signatures, and once the Speaker of the House has sanctioned it.

Beer said he will champion the petition to the best of his ability and ensure all the views and concerns of the campaign are properly dealt with in parliament.

Musician and protestor, Kahiki said it was ‘really good’ to pass on the word that was out there in the street to the government. “There’s a lot of work behind this petition, and it’s great to see it finally put forward,” he said

- Cook Islands News, 12 June 2015

This is a link for our facebook page, pushing for a ban on purse seine fishing in the Cook Islands. The reasons why we are taking this step are included on the page, but basically it is because the Cook Islands Government is refusing to stop purse seiners using drifting fish aggregation devices (FADs) in our waters. When purse seiners fish around FADs, they catch a lot more than just skipjack tuna. The bycatch, which is often dumped dead over the side, as well as the juvenile bigeye tuna bycatch, is unacceptable. We hope orgaisations in other countries in out West and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) will join us in campaigning to stop this unsustainable fishery, based on FADs.

The link can be found on our “LINKS” page, or you can copy the text below into your browser window.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/No-fish-no-future/1662595447297428?fref=ts

Rarotonga
Cook Islands
27 March, 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

Unfortunately you were not present at the Ministry of Marine Resources public consultation on 16th March. If you were, you would have seen that every member of the public that spoke up was against purse seining as it is conducted in the Cook Islands. Some of this was emotive, but much of the objection was based on science, due to the impact on overfished stocks of bigeye tuna. The Secretary of Marine Resources said that MMR would take public feedback into account. In order help MMR gather this feedback, Te Ipukarea Society has sent out an email far and wide across the Cook Islands. The response has been exceptional, from many organisations as well as individuals, and Pa Enua governments, providing support for a petition to Parliament for a ban purse seining in the country. We are therefore proceeding with this petition.

It takes some time to draw up a petition in a format that is acceptable under the Standing Orders of Parliament, and to then get this out to the public as a hard copy for signatures. We are therefore writing this letter to you, and copying Ben Ponia and the Editor of Cook Islands News, to ask that no negotiations for additional purse seining licences in the Cook Islands, beyond those that existed on March 16th at the time of the MMR public consultation, be entered into before the end of April. By that time it will become obvious to you, as Minister for Marine Resources, based on the number of signatures received, that the level of objection of Cook Islanders to purse seining is more than sufficient for you to act on the request of the petitioners.

Yours sincerely,

Kelvin Passfield

Te Ipukarea Society

31 March, 2015

Dear Editor,

The Prime Minister and Minister for Fisheries, Hon Henry Puna, and the Secretary of Marine Resources, Ben Ponia, have repeatedly told the public that the development of the purse seine fishery needs to be guided by science. Could they then please remind the public of the scientific studies that are guiding them, and the relevant pages, that justify the expansion of purse seining to 1250 days of fishing for skipjack tuna and bycatch. The nicely coloured graphs that were shown at the public consultation on 16th March looked very impressive, but did nothing to enlighten the public on the reason we are expanding the fishery in this way.

Kelvin Passfield
Te Ipukarea Society

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