With our tourist numbers growing at an exponential rate it is crucial that both ourselves and our visitors conserve and look after our natural resources which makes the Cook Islands a special place to visit.
The Mana Tiaki programme has been adopted by several accommodation businesses around Rarotonga and a number of cafés and retail stores. Visiting guests who stay with a participating Mana Tiaki accommodation business are given the opportunity to make a donation of their choice to the programme when they check out. If a visitor’s accommodation does not participate in the programme, they can still find Mana Tiaki donation boxes scattered around participating cafés and retail stores on Rarotonga.
All donations go towards assisting conservation projects in the area of Youth, Eco Sustainable Development, Waste Management, Biodiversity and Climate Change. These projects are led by Te Ipukarea Society staff and volunteers.
Funds raised support a number of Mana Tiaki projects. These include co-financing the preparation of a management plan for the endemic tanga’eo bird (Mangaian kingfisher). This included the production of a short documentary on the tanga’eo which can be found with a YouTube search for A Management plan for the Tanga’eo of Mangaia. Funds have also assisted time spent on waste management projects such as the school worm farm and compost bin training programme which has been carried out throughout the Cook Islands. One of the main aims of this project is to raise awareness among our youth in an attempt to create a shift from the burning of organic waste to reusing the waste as compost which can be put back into the land.
As of next year, donations from the Mana Tiaki campaign will help assist the continued review and evaluation of Environmental Impact Assessments, which TIS undertakes as a community service in an attempt to regulate the present surge of development projects on Rarotonga.
The rat eradication project in Suwarrow National Park, potential rat control work on Maungatea Bluff (Rarotonga) to increase successful breeding grounds for sea birds such as the herald petrel, and coastal protection projects across the outer islands promoting the use of sand bags and native vegetation as opposed to rock walls are also on the “to do” list.
You can find out more about Mana Tiaki projects by visiting the tiscookislands.org website. Here you can also check out how to be a Mana Tiaki guardian at home and find some useful eco-friendly tips you can follow on a day-to-day basis.
A big meitaki maata to all businesses achieving their corporate responsibility goals and participating in the Mana Tiaki, “Protect a Little Paradise” campaign
Accommodation: Muri Beachcomber, Ikurangi Eco retreat, Pacific Resort Rarotonga, Moana Sands, Palm Grove, Coral Sands Apartments
Cafés/Restaurants: The Islander, LBV Muri, Delilicious, Cafe Jireh, Café Salsa
Retail stores: CITC Group, The Big Fish Dive Centre, The Bond Store, The Dive Shop, Ocean Fresh
Also, special mention to the Airport Authority for allowing us to have our donation box in the departure lounge for departing visitors.