Who is Te Ipukarea Society?
Ipukarea is literally translated as ‘our heritage’. Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) is a proactive nongovernment environment organisation (NGO) formed to help look after our heritage. Our philosophy is that we do not own our land and marine resources but borrow them from our future generations, and need to leave them in good condition. We are a collection of individuals and groups who desire a sustainable healthy and beautiful environment. We are members of IUCN and Birdlife International. We have among our staff and membership well respected scientists and active campaigners for environmental sustainability. TIS is managed by a voluntary committee who are elected by members, as per our constitution, at our Annual General Meeting. Paid staff and volunteers attend to the day-to-day running of TIS. At present, these include:
Kelvin Passfield – Technical Director
Alanna Smith – Conservation Programme Manager
Kate McKessar – Senior Project Officer
Mary McDonald – Finance Manager
TIS encourages innovative, proactive and positive outcomes to environmental problems, by working with individuals, families, community organizations, private sector and government. We provide leadership on key environmental issues and a voice for local, regional and nation-wide environmental groups. We recognize and incorporate into our campaign objectives the connection between environmental sustainability and social and economic justice. We believe individuals must avoid actions that have negative effects on the wider community, including plants and animals and future generations. We promote the philosophy that we do not own our land and marine resources but we borrow them from our ancestors.
TIS was the first Cook Islands environmental NGO and was established in 1996 as a direct result of the downsizing of the Environment Service. TIS was formed by a group of citizens who felt some of the projects axed were worthwhile continuing for the benefit of the Cook Islands. Since then the National Environment Service has strengthened, and TIS works closely with them where NGO involvement is needed. This may be in a supportive role or through campaigns that raise awareness on specific topics that affect our country.
How do we work?
TIS has a Constitution and is managed by a President and voluntary committee which comprises of a cross section of the community , who are elected by members at our Annual General Meeting. The Society is registered at the Cook Islands Ministry of Justice under the Incorporated Societies Act 1994. TIS has an overall Programme Manager who co-ordinates the day-to-day running of TIS as well as several Project Managers. Members participate in their specific area of focus.
What does TIS do?
TIS encourages innovative, proactive and positive outcomes to environmental problems, by working with individuals, community organisations, private sector and government. We provide leadership on key environmental issues and a voice for local, regional and global environment groups. We incorporate the connection between environmental sustainability and social and
economic justice. We believe individuals must avoid actions that have negative effects our plants, animals, current and future generations.
We provide others with a voice to lobby more effectively. TIS campaigns on a broad range of environmental issues in the Cook Islands. We also coordinate and implement environmental projects. We are guided by our strategic plan, and focus our projects in 5 main areas:
- BIODIVERSITY. For example Save our Suwarrow project, invasive species eradication, outer island bird surveys, Marine Park project;
- WASTE such as promoting re-useable shopping bags, recycling centre, strategy for old tyres;
- ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT which recently focussed on raising awareness on the impacts of seabed mining and industrial fishing;
- YOUTH like youth debates around topical environmental issues, youth camps and training on environmental monitoring.
- CLIMATE CHANGE, working to build resilience in our small island paradise
Mana Tiaki simply means being a guardian of something, and in this case being a guardian of our environment. Being an NGO it’s hard to try and find funds to go towards projects we feel are needed, and Mana Tiaki provides these unrestricted funds to conduct projects across our 5 focal areas (Biodiversity, Youth, Climate Change, Eco Sustainable Development and Waste Management). Mana Tiaki is made possible through the assistance of our visiting guests, who give back to our environment by making a donation of their choice at participating accommodation, bars, cafes and recreational businesses. Typically there is a Mana Tiaki donation box made present at the front counter, or at participating accommodations such as Muri Beachcomber, Pacific Resort and Ikurangi Eco Retreat guests are asked upon checkout to make a donation of their choice which is then channeled into the 5 different focal areas TIS works around.
Check out our Mana Tiaki tab to see how donations have been used.
Meitaki maata to all those who have supported our Mana Tiaki campaign
The mission of the Society is to promote the balance and harmony, which should characterise the relationship of the Cook Islands people with other components of our environment.
- To disseminate information and create public awareness amongst members and the community regarding environmental matters.
- To demonstrate sound ideas and practices for the purpose of promoting conservative and sustainable development through carefully selected field projects; such demonstrations to draw on the traditional knowledge and practices where they are considered beneficial.
- To co-operate with similar organizations within the Cook Islands and throughout the world for the purpose of advancing the course of conservation and sustainable e development.