More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Marae Moana art project creates more awareness

Tuesday 17 October 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Environment, Features, National


Marae Moana art project creates more awareness
Seacology Award for Best artistic representation ‘Kia tapu to tatou Marae Moana’. From left: Tim Meyer, Travel Ngatamariki, Archarlita Ngatokorua and Kevin Iro. MARAE MOANA/23101601

Aitutaki students have conveyed strong messages through “amazing art” pieces to signify the importance of ocean conservation and its environment.

The Marae Moana (Cook Islands Marine Park) Environmental Awareness Poster Competition Aitutaki drew 41 entries from Araura College students which featured eight winning posters, and 12 deserving artists receiving awards last month.

Tim Meyer, the Marae Moana community outreach coordinator, said the aim of the poster competition was to create educational programmes in Cook Islands schools to inspire young people including the next generation to actively engage with their marae moana (ocean).

“Engaging with traditional legends, fishing techniques and general awareness of what the ocean and its health signifies in Cook Islands culture,” said Meyer.

He said that Marae Moana anticipated that throughout the activity of the poster competition project, the students would have the opportunity to discuss topics about their ocean.

‘Plastic is not fantastic in our seas’ art piece by Shonnia Katu. MARAE MOANA/23101625

Meyer and Kevin Iro, ambassador for Marae Moana, flew to Aitutaki to present the awards to the talented artists at Araura College on September 18.

“We were touched by the strong cultural messages, the deeply rooted cultural awareness of the students’ art work and the overall level of artistic skill,” said Meyer.

He said the poster competition contributed to raising ocean environmental awareness among the students.

“The posters speak for themselves, this opened up doors for discussions in student groups, and amongst peers in school.”

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) staff and Marae Moana Community Outreach Project were involved in the pre-selection of the art entries that were posted up on Facebook.

The winners were selected by popular vote from users on the Marae Moana Facebook page.

Looking ahead, Marae Moana is hopeful that this art project becomes a self-funded annual event.

Greeting cards showcasing all the winning art pieces will be produced and sold to assist with the future poster competitions.

In conjunction with Araura College, Marae Moana is attempting to establish a distribution network through local hotel desks to sell the greeting cards to tourists.

Kevin Iro, ambassador for Marae Moana (left), and Araura college Environmental Awareness Poster Competition recipients. MARAE MOANA/23101626

Meyer said this enterprise would achieve two objectives – more awareness about the environment for visitors in Aitutaki, and secondly, to learn the details in running a small business to help fund the art project.

Soon, a delegation of four students and a teacher from Aitutaki will be arriving in Rarotonga to assist artist Gonzalo Aldana with finishing touches to the Aitutaki piece on the Marae Moana seawall mural in Nikao.

Marae Moana would like to acknowledge former Araura College principal Gaylyn Lockington, current principal Corina Mose for facilitating the successful campaign, and the students who participated in the project.

“You are all winners in our eyes.”


The Marae Moana art competition Seacology Awards are as follows: Best cultural representation ‘Marae Moana Kia Tapu’ - Tai Manea, Best artistic representation ‘Kia tapu to tatou Marae Moana’ -Archarlita Ngatokorua and Travel Ngatamariki, Best visual message - Mary Ngapoe, Best message ‘Stop ocean pollution’ - Tiare Teaukura. Public Vote Award: 1st ‘We suffer with our planet’ - Kymani Cecil, 2nd ‘Plastic is not fashion in our seas’ - Shonnia Katu; 3rd ex-aequo (jointly) ‘If you don’t protect our ocean……who will’ - Nicholas Mataiti, ‘The ocean is our home too’ - Teitiaaukura Ngaoire, Heniata Marsters, Pururangi Mataiti and Geopite Bishop.