Special guest speaker on the evening was Jacqui Evans, who won the Goldman Environment Prize last month. Rather than talk about the prize itself, Jacqui chose to give a little history on how the society came to be established. She is well qualified to do this, having been one of the founding members back in 1996 when she was 12 years old.
Jacqui explained that the need for an environmental NGO became apparent because of the large reduction in the size of the public service, from around 3500 staff in the early 1990s to around 1500 after the reform process. This meant that a lot of the work that should have been completed by the Cook Islands Conservation Service (now National Environment Service) would not get done.
The society existed as a purely volunteer organisation for the first 14 years of its life, until some funds were found to start employing a part time youth coordinator for 12 months. A few years later more project funds allowed the society to employ a coordinator, and Jacqui was the successful applicant for that position. She remains committed to the work the society does, and was made a life member two years ago, along with several other founding members. One of the strengths of the society that Jacqui highlighted was its very sound financial management, which is reflected in the annual external audits that are conducted for presentation at the AGM.
Following Jacqui’s presentation, the AGM got down to business, with the society president Teina Mackenzie, delivering the president’s report. She highlighted a number of the achievements of the society in the five focal areas covered in the strategic plan. These are waste management, ecologically sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity, and youth.
The full president’s report can be found on the society’s website, tiscookislands.org.
After Teina’s presentation, the independent auditors report was presented. Following a review of the financial records, contracts, bank statements etc, it was the unqualified opinion of the auditor that the income and expense report was free of any misstatements, and fairly represents the income and expenditure for the Society for the 12 months till March 31, 2019.
Next on the agenda was the election of office bearers. The meeting agreed to retain the two patrons selected at the 2018 AGM, Kamoe Mataiapo Ian Karika and Tinomana Ariki. Re-elected were six of the previous eight executive committee members. These were Teina Mackenzie as president, Avaiki Aperau as vice president, Sabine Janeck as treasurer, and Jessie Sword, Hayley Weeks, and Patricia Tuara. New executive members are Anna Rasmussen, along with long time society supporter and another of the founding members, Jolene Bosanquet as secretary.
Te Ipukarea Society would like to thank everyone who attended the meeting and signed up on the night. We would also like to especially acknowledge our corporate sponsors: CITC, Bank of the Cook Islands, Turamatuitui Bakery, Goldmine, Manuia Beach, Hawaii Pacific Maritime, Turama Pacific, Vonnia’s, Bergman’s, Manuia Beach Resort, The Big Fish Dive Centre, Kia Orana Villas, Nautilus Resort, Ariki Holidays, Pacific Resort Group, Edna Torea Allen, Sands Villas,Air Rarotonga, Royale Takitumu, Koka Lagoon Cruise, Tamarind House, Antipodes, Tropical Sands and Czechmate computers, Maire Nui Gardens, The Café, Heritage Holdings, Rarotonga Printing, and the sole Aitutaki member Etu Moana.