As well as the usual agenda items such as the president’s report, annual audit and finance report, and election of office bearers, there will be a short talk by Jacqueline Evans related to the Goldman Environmental Award which she has just won for her work on Marae Moana. This is an award presented to six environmental champions from around the world in recognition of their work in preserving the environment. Also called the Green Nobel Prize, the annual award honuors grassroots environmental heroes from six continental regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Central and South America, Africa, and island nations.
Included in the president’s report this year will be information on a relatively new programme of Te Ipukarea Society, called Mana Tiaki, or environmental guardianship. One aspect of Mana Tiaki is an environmental eco-certification scheme aimed at tourism operators.
On Tuesday morning this week Te Ipukarea Society ran a workshop aimed at helping tourism operators complete the paper work for this Mana Tiaki Eco-Certification (MTEC). Mana Tiaki certification is a new scheme launched last month aimed at certifying tourism businesses that are doing their best at reducing the environmental impacts of their operations. The workshop was held at the Nautilus Resort in Muri, and was well attended by approximately 20 participants. Feedback received from the participants was positive and included a number of suggestions for other criteria which could be included in the future.
In order to become accredited, the business needs to score 100 points or higher, based on a number of criteria spread over five different environmental categories. These include water and sanitation, biodiversity, solid waste, energy, and miscellaneous ecosystem benefits. At the moment these criteria are aimed primarily at accommodators, but it is possible for other types of businesses to also be accredited if they follow an environmentally sustainable approach to their business. In order to be eco-certified under this scheme you also need to be accredited to the Cook Islands Tourism accreditation scheme.
Te Ipukarea Society president Teina Mackenzie would like to invite all current and potential members along to the AGM. And remind everyone to please come into the office and pay your membership fees before the meeting. Fees remain unchanged at $5 for students, $20 for individuals, and $50 for families. Businesses feel free to call 21144 to discuss the mutual benefits of becoming a corporate member of the Society.