World of discovery in Arorangi

Saturday January 05, 2019 Written by Published in Environment

The Discover – Marine & Wildlife Eco-Centre in Arorangi has opened its doors to the public after a grand opening on Wednesday.


Owner Stephanie Jansen said she was pleased with the feedback she had already received from tourists and locals who have visited the new eco-centre.

Jansen said the centre had not been marketed yet, but hoped it would gain popularity in coming days as more people got to know about it.

The centre features a blend of exhibits from the former Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre in Atupa, plus some new exhibits.

Jansen said the focus was on wildlife and environmental education.

The centre also incorporates the Cook Islands Maori into some of its signs in a bid to promote local culture.

“It was easy decision at the end of the day (to set up the eco-centre). In fact Sheryl and Huw John, the former Whale and Wildlife Centre managers, hadn’t even advertised the exhibits for sale when I bought them,” Jansen said.

“And just a clarification: Nan Hauser will have her own whale research and education centre which will completely focus on whales.

“We have this marine and wildlife centre which focuses on everything about the marine environment and also on land.”

Jansen said the opening on Wednesday was well attended and invited guests seemed pleased with the set-up.

“It was a fantastic opening, it couldn’t have been better. We had some wonderful guests and I also had a lot of my friends, supporters and stakeholders (here). Everyone enjoyed it and we had good feedback.”

The eco-centre had taken a while to set up because of some personal problems she had faced during the construction phase, Jansen revealed.

“I got unwell during the process and needed to go back to New Zealand for an operation, which took out two months.

“That was quite a major setback but I’m back fit and fighting again. It has been quite a journey.”

Jansen also runs her other businesses – Raro Reef Sub, a marine life eco-tour, and Coco Crab Café, which serves deli foods and coffee – from the eco-centre.

The entry fee for children is $7, adults $9 and for family groups, $25.

“We tried to keep it very low so people are able to afford to come here.”

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