At the prizegiving ceremony held yesterday during the Kia Orana Week at the Maire Nui Park, Takuvaine/Tutakimoa claimed the top spot in the Akono I te Ao Rangi category which focuses on the vaka with the most clean public areas, helping to keep the island pollution and disease-free.
The village received $3000 for its efforts. Neighbours Avatiu received the $2000 second prize.
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation director of destination development, Metua Vaiimene, said the prizes were awarded to the village with the most points collected from Ministry of Internal Affairs monthly Tama Oire clean up results, Ministry of Health Tutaka results, and National Environment Service (NES) complaints reports.
“Well done to both these villages who scored very high in their monthly clean-up reports,” Vaiimene said.
“It was a close call between the two villages, but one showed no complaints from the NES report and Tutaka results and this ultimately put them in the lead.”
The Tupuranga Tangata category, which judges villages on their community efforts to address issues of crime, dogs and other pests, and other safety-related issues in their communities, saw Te Are Manu claim the top prize of $1500.
Tupapa Maraerenga Community Watch received the second prize of $700 and Matavera District Committee settled for third spot with $300.
Vaiimene said nominations were received via the Oire committees, adding the Vaka Pride Committee awarded prizes according to the criteria and the effectiveness of the community initiative to address the various issues.
“Te Are Manu operates on a volunteer basis and provides services to animals on the island such as spaying, medication, nurturing animals back to full recovery and so forth. They need all the assistance that they can get to assist with their operations.
“Tupapa Maraerenga Community Policing addresses the issue of crime through their neighbourhood watch. The Matavera district committee has taken on a new initiative of monitoring dog issues including complaints about wandering animals.”
The Peu Maori category which judges villages on their efforts to maintain overall tidiness, focused on plantations and growing produce.
Vaiimene said individuals within each village working in the focus areas were nominated by their village committees to receive special prizes from the Vaka Pride committee. The prizes were vouchers from CITC Building Centre.
Unakea Kauvai took the first prize ($500 CITC Building Centre voucher), followed by Arthur Matenga ($250 voucher) and Tinirau Tamarua ($250 voucher) in third place.
The Vaka Pride judging led by the Ministry of Cultural Development also recognised marae as historical sites.
“There were awards for the best maintained marae (and the provision of) the historical context of the marae. The prizes were also CITC Building Centre vouchers,” Vaiimene said.
Murivai Marae o Tamaiva won the first prize ($500 voucher) while Kaekarai Marae managed the second prize ($250 voucher). The third prize went to Tau Nga Manu Marae ($250 voucher).
The Mana Tiaki Champion awards, which are special prizes from Cook Islands Tourism Corporation for those individuals who go “over and above their duties in their cleaning efforts within their village communities, were also presented yesterday.
The awards went to Mata Hetland and Jane Tanner for cleaning Nukupure Park and Muri lagoon and Victor Teao for cleaning Papaaroa beach. They received $250 CITC Building Centre vouchers.
“These individuals take it upon themselves to clean up public areas such as the Nukupure Park and Muri lagoon as well as Papaaroa beach which are frequented by our visitors,” Vaiimene said.
The ninth round of Vaka Pride judging is scheduled for June this year.
Meanwhile the Kia Orana Week continues today from 11am to 2pm. It will end tomorrow.