Mitiaro student eyes canoe project

Friday May 06, 2016 Written by Published in Outer Islands
Ridge to Reef project coordinator Maria Tuoro left, with Tiana Haxton at the workshop on the Rarotongan Beach Resort. 16042904 Ridge to Reef project coordinator Maria Tuoro left, with Tiana Haxton at the workshop on the Rarotongan Beach Resort. 16042904

Fifteen year old Mitiaro School student Tiana Haxton values the environment as “a gift to life.”


The year 11 pupil was one of a group of students from southern  Cook Islands schools who attended a Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation Workshop hosted on Rarotonga last week. 

The workshop was organised to give students the opportunity to improve their awareness of climate change, and other environmental issues.

It aimed to build participants’ in the various disciplines involved in caring for the environment as possible career pathways for them.

Haxton said the Mitiaro community was considering a project that would improve fishing resources for fishermen and she was keen to discuss the island’s plans at the workshop.

“What we had in mind when we came to Rarotonga was that we wanted to get resources for canoes. We want to build some canoes on Mitiaro for our fishermen.

“We will need housing for these canoes too so that they will last longer.There are some households who don’t own a canoe so they have to join up with other fishermen who go out fishing to help get food for their families,” she said. 

Haxton said the maroro tu season was the flying fish spawning season.

“For six months every year from July to December, flying fish come to Mitiaro to spawn and they release their eggs.

“This is the time when all the fishermen go out in their canoes with their big scoop nets and they scoop up all these fish and by the end of the season, everyone’s freezers are bulging, you can hardly open them without fish falling out,” Haxton said, laughing.

She said she was happy to be part of the workshop as it had been an “eye-opener” for her.

“I have enjoyed every moment, especially all the presentations that came up with different ideas and topics. These took our minds to the next level of understanding about biodiversity and the environment.

‘Ive enjoyed most of the presentations to do with marine and the ocean.” Ridge to Reef project coordinator Maria Tuoro said the Mitiaro project was important as it would achieve a lot for the island’s community.

“We are targeting community members to implement this project. We, as facilitators, are there to help them make their ideas for their projects bigger, as the projects will also be provided with adequate funding.

“It’s up to the adults now on Mitiaro, so the onus gets put back on us for this project to happen.”

“A documentary film has also been made on the maroro tu which has opened up more opportunities for different people or sectors like Tourism to visit the island during the spawning season.

“The documentary film showcases the importance of these resources and if visitors are interested in visiting the islands, they’ll get taught the traditional ways in which the Maroro Tu season is treated.” 

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