Te Vaka O Ru competition on the island continues to grow from strength to strength with prizes to the value of $5000 distributed to responsible members of the community this month.
And for the first time the village of Vaipeka took out top placing in all three categories. The village was recognised and rewarded for its innovative, environmental and creative efforts in keeping their surrounding clean.
Cook Islands Tourism’s destination development coordinator Sieni Tiraa said the small community earned their Mana Tiaki status receiving a total of $2800 in cash prizes to continue, maintain and promote their amazing work.
Tiraa said the competition committee were impressed by Vaipeka from the get go during their inspections which were held last week.
The mamasin the villageused biodegradable resources such as traditional Tapora (woven baskets) which were used as bins for recyclables. These were proudly displayed at local graphics designer business, Stonefish Studio.
The village also demonstrated more innovative ways of reusing materials such as sea floaters used for pot plants. They exhibited pare ukarau (flax hats) that were distributed to all homes within their village along with locally sewn shopping bags showcasing sustainable practices
Aitutaki tourism coordinator Misepa Isamaela commended Vaipeka for an outstanding work.
“It was evident that they had expanded on their cleaning area, eliminating mosquito breeding sites, and they have begun replanting trees along the village pathway from the main road to the beach. It was an exciting start to the inspection, being able to witness the collaborated efforts of the community of Vaipeka,” Isamaela said.
Other groups were also acknowledged by the committee. They include the hard working mamas of Nikaupara Oire for their commitment in ensuring their community hall is kept clean on a regular basis, as well as their replanting efforts in the village. Their work did not go unrewarded as they followed in second placing in the Akono i te Ao Rangi and Peu Maori categories, winning a total of $1200 towards their community projects.
Vaipae Fishing Club took out the third placing in the Akono i te Ao Rangi category receiving $700 towards their fishing club.
Vaipae were acknowledged by the Te Vaka O Ru committee for their ongoing efforts to maintain the wharf for the community, visitors and businesses to enjoy.
Takapora Heights, made up of the staff of the Aitutaki hospital, took out third placing in the Peu Maori category. They received $300 for their vegetable/fruit garden initiative
Isamaela said: “This garden has been a great supplement not only to the hospital meals but also a regular delivery is carried out by the hospital to our elderly community.”