Cook Islands Tourism Corporation sustainable tourism manager Sieni Tiraa presents the Vaka Pride Award to vet Dr Michael Baer. 22121309
A major animal desexing programme is among the recipients of a special community awards fund.
round of the Vaka Pride awards, held on Tuesday, distributed a total of $11,000
towards a series of community initiatives.
celebrate sustainability and promotion of Cook Islands culture and tourism.
recipients was Dr Michael Baer of Te Are Manu vet clinic, who received $3500
towards the next stage of the dog desexing programme.
Baer said he was
“absolutely delighted” with the prize, as it would ensure there was enough
resources for the third desexing programme to occur next year.
“The first two we
did desexed close to 400 dogs on the island. It was successful because of all
the agencies who worked together with us, particularly on the Dog Registration
and Animal Control Committee (DRACC),” he said.
“This funding will
go towards the purchase of medication and consumables.”
Baer said the
programme benefited a lot of people.
organisations such as the Police and Ministry of Tourism support it. Stray and
roaming dogs are a big problem in the Cook Islands, and the more dogs we’re
able to desex, the more sustainable the population will be,” he said.
“I would love the
next round of desexing to target up to 150 dogs, that way we can get on top of
a number of issues that the island has with dogs.”
Also among the
recipients at the Vaka Pride Awards was Bruce Goldsworthy of Maunga Tours, who
received $1000 towards maintenance of walking tracks around Rarotonga.
“The big one is
the cross-island track, that’s the one that gets the most people participating
because it can cater for a range of fitness levels,” Goldsworthy said.
deceptively tricky trek, it’s not too long, but it is very rugged and it does connect
people to nature.”
he had also engaged in predator control programmes, including baiting for rats,
and recently had noticed an increase in bird life on the track.
forward to the downtime for visitors over the next few months, because that
means I can do a lot of the hard work of upkeep before the next high season,”
students from Tereora College received $1500 towards the Turangavaevae
performance at the end of the year.
Year 13 student
Heinarii Tauira said the funding would go towards covering aspects such as
costumes and music.
“It was a really
intense performance; a lot of work went into it. For instance, I had to get a
song composed for one of my dances, that cost a bit of money in itself,” Tauira
“But it was such a
great experience, I enjoyed working with all the students.”
Tourism Corporation sustainable tourism manager Sieni Tiraa said the award
winners championed the environment, sustainability and culture.
Other winners included
Mark Short & Jane Rubena – Manavanui, Peu Maori award ($1500), and village
contractors from Akaoa, Matavera, Ruaau, Ruatonga, Takuvaine, Tupapa and
Murienua, which received $545 each to go towards further beautification