A number of new raui signs have been put up in the Muri area, the first tapere at Rarotonga to do so.
Last week, members of the Koutu Nui and local acommodation owners took part in an official blessing ceremony as the raui sign was put in place on Muri beach alongside Pacific Resort Rarotonga.
The ceremony also marked the first year of the area being protected under the raui, a traditional conservation system part of an initiative to protect the areas marine life.
Large areas of Rarotonga are already in raui zones, where a complete ban on fishing is enforced by the traditional leaders of the community.
The Muri Raui will be in effect for a period of 10 years, with one year of that already passed.
Last weeks blessing was conducted by Pastor Nooana and attended by traditional leaders and community members including president of the House of Ariki, Travel Tou; president of the Koutu Nui Maria Henderson; Tupe Short, Tairiterangi Rangatira; Dorothy Nicholas, Uirangi Mataiapo; Keta Williams, Muri Pu Tapere; Mii Kauvai, chairperson of the Muri Environment Care Group; Greg Stanaway, chief executive officer of the Pacific Resort Hotel Group; and Thomas Koteka, general manager of Te Manava Luxury Villas and Spa.
The Koutu Nui, as part of their vision to protect the picturesque lagoon for future generations to enjoy, introduced this raui. The Koutu Nui helped design the signs, which will be uniform across Rarotonga, with use of funding from the New Zealand Aid Programme.
The Muri lagoon marine environment was identified as a priority to conserve following confirmation by the Ministry of Marine Resources that shell fish, in particular ungakoa, paua and ariri, were slowly declining in numbers.
The Muri tapere is grateful for the funding received from Seacology to help with a community project namely renovation of their meeting house and clinic as well as community police office.
In exchange for funding, the Muri Tapere is committed to honouring the raui in place.
Seacology is a non profit organisation based in California, United States, focusing on preserving island ecosystems and cultures around the globe. A representative from Seacology will be visiting Rarotonga on the September 9 to see this project in action.