The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation initiative aimed at encouraging communities to be better stewards of the land have 10 villages from Rarotonga competing.
Tupapa scooped the top Akono I Te Ao Rangi prize and $3000, Matavera managed the Tupuranga Tangata prize and $1500 and Titikaveka won the Peu Maori grade and $1500.
The runner-up in the three division were Takuvaine, Akaoa and Tupapa, respectively.
The Akono I Te Ao Rangi division is judged on most clean beaches, most clean streams and free of animals, least amount of mosquito breeding sites, best reuse of rubbish and recycle centres and renewable energy or sustainable living.
Cook Islands Tourism’s Sieni Tiraa said this category was based on the results from Internal Affairs Tama Oire (monthly clean-ups) and the National Environment Services’ monthly monitoring reports.
She said the Vaka Pride committee also add bonus points to the 10 villages if they were complying with the judging criteria for Akono I Te Ao Rangi.
“Tupapa was successful in leading this category based on their bonus points attributed by the Vaka Pride (VP) committee,” Tiraa said.
“They demonstrated the best areas to visit for the VP committee during judging day. Oire Takuvaine came in second placing with the highest results from their monthly clean ups demonstrating an active cleaning community.”
The Tupuranga Tangata category is judged based on the least reported dog nuisance complaints and wandering dogs, least reported crime and community initiatives.
The judging in this category is based on the police report provided for the respective months of this Vaka Pride round.
Tiraa said Matavera took out first place, indicating the least reported amount of crime in the area.
The second placing went to the village of Akaoa who had a very low rate of wandering dogs.
The final Peu Maori category is voted on the best flower and/or agricultural production, bus shelters, public toilets and best kept public areas e.g. sports fields, burial grounds.
It is also judged on the best voted historical sites e.g. marae and best voted traditional handicrafts e.g. tivaivai.
“There was an overwhelmingly positive response from the local planters, community clinics, and historical sites including the overall cleaning efforts around the island,” Tiraa said.
“Three of the community clinics had their Tivaivai (hand woven embroidery) on display for the VP committee, and a couple of the Marae’s (historical sites) visited had their Mataiapo (chiefs) greet the VP committee upon arrival to provide information on their Marae’s.
“These were the highlights for the VP committee making it a very tough round for them to judge.”
Cook Islands Tourism also released the results of the Te Vaka O Ru competition which is Vaka Pride equivalent for Aitutaki.
Amuri managed Akono I Te Ao Rangi ($1250), Arutanga scooped the Tupuranga Tangata ($1050) and Tautu and Nikaupara won the Peu Maori category ($937.50 each).
“Congratulations and meitaki atupaka to all the villages and communities for your continuous efforts in keeping our little paradise clean, green and beautiful,” Tiraa said.
“If you missed out in this round of the Vaka Pride or Te Vaka O Ru competition, use the next round as your opportunity to win monetary awards to go towards a community project of your choice for your village.”
The next round for Vaka Pride and Te Vaka O Ru starts immediately and will run until October.