Secret donor shades turtles

Saturday August 31, 2019 Written by Published in Environment
Green Turtle underwater in the Papua Passage in Rarotonga.    MICHAEL WHITE 19083059 Green Turtle underwater in the Papua Passage in Rarotonga. MICHAEL WHITE 19083059

New turtle society Te Ara O Te Onu, is making headway with turtle research in Rarotonga with a goal to find out what the turtle population looks like in our waters.


A few tour operators are conducting turtle surveys in the waters around Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Julie Tamaariki, president of Te Ara O Te Onu and operator of Ariki Adventures, said the society was wanting to progress and take research to the next level and she predicts there may be a large number of turtles here and a small pocket of the endangered and rare Hawksbill turtles.

“We are looking at how many there are and what they are doing,” said Tamaariki.

Last week, she said, they spent two hours and recorded eight Green and two Hawksbills turtles in one small area.

The Society has plans to set up collection boxes but so far have had very little funds.

However, there have been private funds donated from one of the operators in Rarotonga which has been sent to Zoologist Dr Michael White in Tongareva for tree planting to provide shade for cooler turtle nesting areas.

For now, the society will conduct its own research once per week around the waters of Rarotonga with the same methodology of the tour operators survey in the Avaavaroa passage.

Ariki Adventures have welcomed on board a marine biologist and marine engineer from Brazil.

Tamaariki said their wealth of experience in turtle conservation will greatly benefit the society’s efforts.

Previously Dr White had said Rarotonga would likely be lost for turtle nesting but the number of turtles on Rarotonga may be at a sustainable number.

After the Te Ara O Te Onu has their first annual general meeting earlier this month, have set a date for November 7 to launch the society which was recently incorporated, and its initiatives.




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