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Environmental impacts of seabed mining brochure
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Te Ipukarea Society Brochure 2017-18

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.


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

Sabine showing the Queens Representative how to turn rubbish into fashion

Making fashion from tita
Sabine Janneck, TIS Exec Member has designed a hands on way to tackle our growing plastic waste issue. Using the packaging from chip and biscuit packets, Sabine makes these stunning bags, clutches and boxes. She is currently in discussions with a number of shops and schools around the island to collect their old chip packets to avoid ending up in the landfill or being burnt. There has been widespread interest about the initiative with CITV and CI News doing interviews with the TIS Exec member. As a TIS member, you can support Sabine’s efforts by collecting your suitable packets and dropping them off to the TIS office for recycling.

Ensuring their future

Lagoon Day this year was held on July 17 and 18, at Punanga Nui Market. June Hosking once again did a fantastic job in the leadership and coordination of the event and TIS would like to say Meitaki Maata to her for that. The caliber of the stall holders and presenters this year was outstanding and based on questionnaires answered by students, everyone had a great time! It was great to see a number of TIS members popping by on their lunch breaks or volunteering on different aspects of Lagoon Day. For those of you who couldn’t make it, our stall focused on one of our key areas, ecologically sustainable development, namely eco-tourism. The stall was manned by Kelvin and his two daughters, Sieni and Hareta who did a great job of keeping the students engaged and interested in the topic. We focused on the local businesses who are doing their bit to lessen their footprint through tourism and even had a surprise visit from the Pacific Resort bio-fuel truck on the Friday.

Pictured above, from left, Ngamaru Ariki, Rongomatane Ariki, Paerangi Mataiapo Tutara, members of the Takutea Trust.  On the right is Tangata Vainepoto, the Secretary of the Trust.

Biodiversity survey of Takutea
A team from TIS, Birdlife Pacific, and local biodiversity experts based in Atiu, visited Takutea in May to resurvey the bird colonies there, and also to look for the presence of invasive species. The Polynesian rat is very common on the island, and the team looked at the feasibility of conducting a rate eradication exercise. They also met with members of the Takutea Trust on Atiu to discuss their vision for the island.

The Takutea Trust has seven members, who are responsible for the management of this important bird breeding island. Those pictured are, from left, Ngamaru Ariki, Rongomatane Ariki, Paerangi Mataiapo Tutara, members of the Takutea Trust. On the right is Tangata Vainepoto, the Secretary of the Trust. Not pictures are Parua Ariki, Aumai Mataiapo Tutara, Tinokura Mataiapo Tutara, and Makopi Mataiapo Tutara. A report on the trip is expected to be available soon.

Marae Moana Logo Pa’ua in Manuae Lagoon

Marae Moana it is!

The Cook Islands Marine Park now has its own unique name – Marae Moana. Whilst in Aitutaki today Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Hon. Henry Puna made the announcement.

In late November the Prime Minister launched the search for a uniquely Cook Islands name with which to brand the Cook Islands Marine Park.

“Last year a logo competition produced an incredibly unique logo designed by June Hosking and now we have an equally unique name to complement this logo” said marine park communications advisor, Jaewynn McKay.

The name – Marae Moana – was one of six entries submitted by Tereora College 7th former Bouchard Solomona. Bouchard from Tupapa will receive $250 cash as the prize for his effort. In total over 140 entries were submitted from around the Cook Islands.

The winning name together with the logo will be used extensively on products, printed material, clothing, media releases, websites, and pretty much everything associated with the Cook Islands Marine Park.

At this stage, the Marine Park will encompass approximately 1.1 million square kilometres of the southern Cook Islands’ Exclusive Economic Zone. The design of the marine park is still in progress and it is hoped that it will be fully legally designated and zoned by the end of 2015.

Ian Karika Dr. Takiora Ingram

This week 2 Cook Islands eco-warriors received international recognition for their dedication and tireless efforts to conserve our natural resources.

Ian Karika has been awarded the inaugural Pacific Islands Environmental Leadership Award for excellence in national leadership in environmental sustainability and conservation.

Ian is president of Te Ipukarea Society and the Cook Islands Voyaging Society, and has been a key figure for the Takitumu Conservation Area since it was established. The award was presented on Monday night at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas being held in Fiji. As Ian was unable to attend the conference, the award was received on his behalf by the two Cook Islands youth delegates attending the conference, Tehere Koteka and Myria Rongo. They were supported by the entire Cook Islands delegation!

In supporting Ian’s nomination Prime Minister Henry Puna wrote “Over the many years that I have known Ian, he has always given his time and energy selflessly to environmental conservation and to the revival and promotion of traditional voyaging and navigation – a passion deeply-rooted in the preservation of our marine ecosystem and values as Polynesians.”

The Prime Minister went on to say that Ian is renowned in the Cook Islands for his leadership and management of the Takitumu Conservation Area (TCA). “Under Ian’s stewardship of the TCA, he helped spearhead the key initiative to recover the population of a rare native bird – the Kakerori (Rarotonga Flycatcher). Ian was also part of an important programme to re-establish the Rimatara Lorikeet on the Island of Atiu by transferring birds from French Polynesia. This work necessitated increased efforts in the eradication of rats, as well as waste clean-up projects, to assist bird populations recovery and lift the profile of TCA internationally.

On Tuesday evening Dr. Takiora Ingram was one of eight women of and from Oceania to be honoured at the third “Stars of Oceania” recognition dinner held in Hawai’i.

The “Stars of Oceania” was inaugurated in 2006 with the intent to continue every three to four years. Rather than being an award or reward ceremony, the “Stars of Oceania” event recognises and acknowledges outstanding women for doing the right thing and honours their sense of humanity.

Dr Ingram was recognized for her Regional Leadership. A regional environmental leader; coordinator of the Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership; promoting health and stewardship of the Pacific Ocean’s resources; and former executive director of the All Islands Coral Reef Committee Secretariat based in Honolulu. It was noted that Takiora provides effective leadership and coordination of the US Pacific Islands and the Federal government to sustainably manage ocean resources and promote stewardship of the Pacific Ocean.

The executive and staff of Te Ipukarea Society wish to congratulate both Ian and Takiora on the recognitions they have received this week at the same time we thank them for the significant contribution they have both made to our oceans, our environment and conservation in general, meitaki ma’ata.

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