COOK ISLANDS, Atiu Island - January 2007
Construction of a community geriatric housing ward in exchange for the establishment of a 297-acre wildlife sanctuary on Takutea Island, and a restricted fishing zone extending five miles from the island's shores, both for a duration of 20 years
Takutea is an uninhabited 297-acre island located nine miles northwest of Atiu in the Cook Islands Group. The island is owned by the people of Atiu Island. Seacology is funding the construction of a housing ward for the community’s elderly residents. In exchange, Atiu islanders will declare Takutea Island a wildlife sanctuary for 20 years. The island is home to many endemic and threatened bird species. The community has also committed to creating a restricted marine conservation area extending five miles out from Takutea’s shore to minimize intrusion by outside fishing vessels and unauthorized landings on the island. *
UPDATE June 2007 - Materials for construction were purchased in April 2007 and scheduled to be transported to Atiu in May. The community is planning to build the foundation, footing and flooring in mid 2007. Construction of the ward is scheduled to be completed by November 2007.
UPDATE October 2007 - As of May 2007 the building was almost complete with electrical, plumbing, painting and furnishing to be completed in mid-2007. As of September 2007 the building was complete and a project opening was held September 21st, with 200 members of the community attending as well as a member of Parliament, the Atiu Mayor, and Atiu Secretary. Field representative Allan Tuara spoke on behalf of Seacology and had the honor of turning the key to declare the building open.
UPDATE May 2008 - As April 2008 ongoing care of the facility is provided by the community with a public health officer overseeing activities. Conservation of Takutea islands is reported intact.
UPDATE January 2009 - In June 2008, field representative Allan Tuara worked with a biodiversity study team to assess the concern of an outbreak of coconut scales on Takutea. Their study found that there was not a present threat. They also found a 400-plus count of healthy nesting birds on the island. The Atiu village expanded the use of the hospital as a facility for handicapped patients when it is not occupied by elderly patients.