The Vaka Pride programme, which involves prizes being given to communities on Rarotonga for their work to help keep the island clean and beautiful, has been running since 2015.
The concept was extended to Aitutaki in 2016 and called Te Vaka O Ru, and in October this year Tourism launched Te Ieie O Te Orau in Mauke.
Destination development coordinator for Cook Islands Tourism, Sieni Tiraa says these are similar community initiatives to Vaka Pride.
The competition is organised in keeping with the context of each island. The overall judging remains and general tidiness in public areas and beatification efforts are the underlying themes.
On all three islands judging rounds occur every four months and the winners claim cash prizes that go towards their village projects.
Te Vaka O Ru committee in Aitutaki held their judging in September and committee was impressed with the increased level of interest in the project from its communities.
The village of Vaipeka registered their interest for the first time and their cleaning efforts focused on the Vaipeka main road leading to their beach.
“The cleaning and beautification efforts were seen right throughout the island, impressing the Te Vaka O Ru committee and making it a challenge to judge,” said Aitutaki Tourism coordinator, Misepa Isamaela.
Aitutaki results: Akono I te Ao Rangi winners -1st Vaipae Fishing Club, 2nd Arutanga Village,
3rd Tautu Sports.
Tupuranga Tangata:1st Aitutaki Hospital, 2nd Vaipae Fishing Club, 3rd Vaipeka village.
Peu Maori:1st Vaipeka Village, 2nd Tautu Sports, 3rd Vaipae Fishing Club.
Te Ieie O Te Orau for Mauke and the Vaka Pride judging were held in October.
The Vaka Pride prizegiving was held on December 1 at the Titikaveka College island night.
Tiraa says the competition on Mauke was also a success, with the efforts of the community clearly evident around the island on judging day.
Ngatiarua village took out the top prize of $1,000, followed by Kimiangatau with $800 and Areroa Makatea receiving $500. The money will be used for further beautification projects.
Says Tiraa: “We look forward to extending these community initiatives to the islands of Atiu, Mitiaro and Mangaia next year.
“A great amount of work has gone into these community projects and Cook Islands Tourism would like to thank all those involved for their contributions to the success of the Vaka Pride, Te Vaka O Ru and Te Ieie O Te Orau.”