Cash prizes of $10,000 were shared out to community groups and individuals.
Destination Development Coordinator at Cook Islands Tourism, Sieni Tiraa said the Vaka Pride community strives to assist with community initiatives.
“After all a vibrant community is what tourism thrives on,” she said.
Tiraa said individuals and groups are rewarded for their work in areas that range from maintenance on cultural sites to public facilities, and production in the social sector to community policing.
“I am proud that so far cash prizes to the value of over $150,000 have been awarded to community teams over the last five years,” she said.
The Akono i te Ao Rangi category is directed towards the cleanliness of public areas on the island.
Results are taken from the monthly reports from Te Tango Akarangatira Ora’anga Ministry of Internal Affairs and compliance reports from Te Tuanga Taporoporo National Environment Service.
Groups that excel at their cleaning duties have a better chance of winning and generate bonus points for their village.
Tupapa Maraerenga placed first with a prize of $1500. The village will put their cash towards new hand wash basins at the Sinai Hall, Tupapa Centre and the Tupapa Clinic (opposite the Rakahanga Hostel).
Second prize of $1200 went to Ruaau in Puaikura. Cleaning projects of their clinics and public cemeteries will benefit from these funds.
Akaoa district placed third with $1000 that will assist the tidiness of the churches, the Arorangi Sports Federation and the Aroa Nui Community Hall.
The Vaka Pride team focused on gardens that contributed towards points in the Peu Maori section that was led by the Ministry of Agriculture who nominated a number of plots to be judged.
Points were awarded based on criteria such as the variety of crops, use of organic fertilisers, demonstrated traditional forms of planting and innovative styles of raising crops.
Avid farmers were rewarded for their contribution towards promotion of healthy and sustainable livelihoods.
Nikao Growers Association received first place and $800, second place and a prize of $600 went to Areumu Ingaua and Cook Islands Fijian Community placed third.
Creative Centre, Cook Islands National Disability Council Rarotonga and Te Kainga O Pa Taunga were nominated by members of the Vaka Pride committee for prizes in the Tupuranga Tangata category that focused on people who address social issues.
All three groups presented formal deliveries to the Vaka Pride board that shared what services they provide for vulnerable people.
Tiraa said they listened to their heartfelt and emotional presentations and felt eager to assist and help them, therefore an executive decision was made to award each of these non-Government organisations equal rewards of $1500 each.
“Meitaki maata to all the Mana Tiaki champions doing valuable work in the community,” said Tiraa.
“The next round of the Vaka Pride competition is well underway having started at the beginning of July until October. Village cleaning groups on Rarotonga will focus on a nominated beach in their district to clean.”