Summer intern Itirangi Pennycook assisting with updating rat baiting stations up at the Takitumu Conservation Area. TIS/22010713
Te Ipukarea Society intern Itirangi Pennycook writes about her experience with the local environmental group.
There is a saying that goes “even the smallest
splash can make a large ripple”. My name is Itirangi Pennycook, I’m 16
years old and I’m thrilled to have taken up the opportunity for a two-month
internship to work with Te Ipukarea Society (TIS). I was awarded this
internship for placing excellence in Tereora College Level 2 Biology, and for
that I am truly grateful.
Something that I have in common with, and
respect TIS for in all their operations, is that I’m devoted and supportive of
keeping the natural environment and biodiversity safe. I’m eager to learn from
TIS and can’t wait to assist in any way that I can. I am also a member of
‘Ātui’anga ki te Tango,which is a group run by Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau that
teaches youth about sustainability and cultural foundations here in the Cook
My first day at TIS was very exciting, I
followed the team out to pick up an injured bird that had been rarely spotted
on the island and watched as they carried out necessary examinations. A couple
days later we went on a thrilling, rat baiting trek through the Takitumu
conservation to carry on the endangered, indigenous birdlife protection programme
that has been going on since 1996. I learnt that TIS specialises in
birdlife and that they contribute to a lot of bird protection projects across
the Cook Islands.
Furthermore, I am also learning that TIS offers
a lot of assistance throughout the Cook Islands to help achieve sustainability
for our country. Whether it is eco bricking, barricading our shoreline to
protect the coast (project out in Avana), assisting in stream restoration or
simply recycling, such as glass jars for cafes, Use Your Own (UYO) reusables
for takeaways or encouraging young women to try female sanitary products.
I’ve also learnt that TIS does a lot of work in
marine environment, thus over these last couple weeks, I’ve been educated on
the different deep-sea capacity areas throughout the Pacific.
Throughout my association with TIS and
‘Ātui’anga ki te Tango, I have gained a lot of knowledge on the status of our
environment and I am becoming aware of the pressures our country faces in how
to both care for the environment, while still protecting our economy. I’ve
realised that not many people understand the seriousness of some of these
environmental issues and I hope to be able to raise more awareness in the
community and help the Atuianga Ki Te Tango and TIS become more recognised for
what they have contributed to the Cook Islands and receive the acknowledgment
by our local community for all the work that they have put in.
My aspiration in which I’m hoping to accomplish
through affiliation with TIS and ‘Ātui’anga ki te Tango, is to be able to have
a positive impact on the natural environment here in the Cook Islands by being
able to personally help in projects for sustainability also and encourage more
people to be proactive in the situation.
All of this is easy to say and I know that this
will take some time to achieve, but as I mentioned earlier, “even the smallest
splash can make a large ripple”.