Led by Dr Teina Rongo and a group of passionate, like-minded people, their various projects have focused on environmental conservation, traditional knowledge revitalization and holistic education for Cook Islands youth with a Ridge to Reef approach. The NGO aims to “improve the well-being of the indigenous people of the Cook Islands and our environment.”
In the marine space, the organization spearheads taramea (Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish; Acanthaster planci) outbreak control and data collection through Operation Taramea. To date, 3699 taramea have been removed from Rarotonga’s reefs since the current outbreak started in 2019. This effort has been sustained by the NGO’s in-house SCUBA programme that trains up indigenous students as guardians of their environment.
On land, Kōrero o te Ōrau have an ongoing ‘ūtū (king banana – Musa troglodytarum) reforestation project in Takuva’ine Valley. With the help of volunteers and students, 150 ‘ūtū trees have been replanted in the valley. Kōrero o teŌrau is also supporting garden projects in Rarotonga and Aitutaki schools with the assistance of international donors to promote science and climate change resilience.
Their youth development programme, ‘Ātui’anga ki te Tango (AKTT), aims to build local capacity through holistic education. AKTT students have opportunities to reconnect with their culture while championing their environment. Kōrero o te `Ōrau have upskilled many students through their dive programme, vaka voyages and much more.
NES is proud of the work carried out by Kōrero o te `Ōrau and continues to seek ways to support and encourage this type of environmental leadership. For more information visit www.korerooteorau.org.