The island of Mangaia comes under the Environment Act for the first time, following approval from the Cook Islands Cabinet and Executive Council in September 2023. The application order issued for the Island of Mangaia is pursuant to Section 4 Subsection 2 of the Environment Act 2003.
There have been extensive consultations between NES and the Aronga Mana, Members of Parliament and the Island Government of Mangaia, to reach this significant milestone of bringing Mangaia under the Environment Act 2003. This step comes at a crucial time, as NES prioritises the Pa Enua as its first goal in its new strategic framework 2023-28. NES’s goal for the Pa Enua is to have holistic and inclusive planning, implementation and management of environmental priorities specific to each Pa Enua. This step also means that NES will allocate resources and prioritise the environmental needs of Mangaia, as a key focus for the implementation of its new strategy. NES continues to explore funding through Government and donor partners and will elevate Mangaia’s needs to expedite environmental programmes.
Halatoa Fua, NES Director stated ‘this milestone is an outcome of a unified island community wanting to protect their environment in a coherent and cohesive manner. The leaders of Mangaia should be commended for their astounding leadership and environmental custodianship that is reinvigorating and inspiring us all to act and respond to the needs of our communities. A special acknowledgement of all involved, Numangatini Ariki, Aronga Mana, Members of Parliament, Island Government, and Executive Council and Ministers for progressing Mangaia’s application. We look forward to harnessing enduring relationships and to progress many projects to come’.
Following the issuing of the order by Executive Council, a team from NES visited Mangaia to start the planning, hear from key stakeholders and the community, on what are the priorities they would like to see NES provide support. NES was also fortunate to have Numangatini Tangimataiti Ariki accompany the team and was elected as the Chairman at the first Mangaia Island Environment Authority Meeting. A raft of activities can be further read below.