Aitutaki is now the fourth island to be mapped in this way by NES, with its P3D map allowing a bird’s-eye view of the whole island and lagoon.
It is hoped that the map can be used to assist the island in the development of the Aitutaki Lagoon Management Plan under the Ridge to Reef Project, as well as for infrastructure planning, climate-change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity protection purposes, and the preservation of traditional knowledge.
Aitutaki mayor Po’o Bishop congratulated those community members who participated in the project, as the map far exceeded expectations. He noted that the map was greatly relevant to identifying or even deploying traditional ra’ui areas and would be useful for educating the younger generation.
The highlight of each island’s P3D development is the sharing from the community about historical, traditional and ecological features unique to each island.
Director of Aitutaki Culture Tours Nga Kitai Taria acknowledged the NES for holding such a workshop, saying that “this workshop encouraged many of our Taunga Korero to be present, each helping to name ancient landmarks and also describing its traditional inheritance”.
One of the most interesting aspects of constructing the Aitutaki map was learning the individual names of each reef passage. Local fisherman at the community workshop did not initially want to share their secrets but then realised that their fishing knowledge might be lost if it was not recorded somewhere.
The Aitutaki P3D model was developed by the NES through funding by the Ridge to Reef Project, supported by the SRICC Project.
NES appreciates the support of the Aitutaki Island Council, the Ministry of Marine Resources and Emergency Management Cook Islands in completing this P3D map and would like to thank the whole Aitutaki community for participating and sharing their knowledge.
Aitutaki is the fourth island to be mapped in this way by NES, after Mangaia in September 2016 and Mauke and Mitiaro, which were both mapped back to back last May.
Next on the list for the P3D-model treatment is Atiu, which the NES plans to visit later this year, although an exact date has yet to be confirmed.