The Marae Moana Technical Advisory Group (TAG) met on 13 April 2023 as its first meeting in two years. The Prime Minister, Hon. Mark Brown, issued the Marae Moana warrants on 8 March 2023 to members from key Government Agencies, non-government organisations and the House of Ariki.
The Marae Moana TAG is mandated under Section 14 of the Marae Moana Act 2017, to prepare a range of activities that protect and conserve the ecological biodiversity and heritage values of the Cook Islands marine environment or Marae Moana. This includes the development of a Marae Moana policy, national and island marine spatial plans, outlook report, management measures and reporting. The TAG members provide a wide range of knowledge and technical skills from multiple sectors including key heads of Government Agencies, House of Ariki and NGOs in science and social welfare.
The first part of the TAG meeting was to address governance matters that included the election of chairperson, approve the provisional agenda, minutes of the past meetings and matters arising. The TAG meeting elected its Chairperson, Ben Ponia, Office of the Prime Minister Chief of Staff, and Halatoa Fua as its Vice Chairperson, Director for the National Environment Service.
The TAG continued to deliberate on substantive matters which resulted in the endorsement of the TAG rules of procedure, approve the marae moana work plan and set a tentative date for the Marae Moana Council to meet in late June 2023. The rules of procedure is a requirement under Section 17(1) of the Marae Moana Act 2017 to allow the TAG to conduct its meetings and decision making process effectively. The marae moana work plan was adopted by the TAG to identify timelines and resources required to support the activities planned.
These activities were discussed in the third part of the TAG meeting. The Marae Moana Outlook Report was completed under the Ridge-2-Reef Programme. Further input from the TAG agencies will be considered to fully complete the Marae Moana Outlook Report by mid-2023. Other activities included the review of the Marae Moana Policy 2016-20, ongoing scoping of the marine islands spatial planning and the completion of the agency reports and annual report for Marae Moana. The TAG meeting concluded with other matters relating to the Marae Moana outreach projects and related reports from the TAG agencies.
Ben Ponia, Chief of Staff stated ‘I am pleased that the Marae Moana TAG completed its first meeting in 2023, which sets up the group to prepare its agenda for the Marae Moana Council meeting. The Marae Moana activities will continue to prioritise marine protection and sustainability, as we embark on significant projects like the marine spatial planning to improve our ocean stewardship.’
For more information, please visit the Marae Moana website www.maraemoana.gov.ck