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Cook Islands

Atiu Island


Conservation benefit: 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 20 years

Community benefit: Construction of community geriatric housing

Date Approved: 01.2007


This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Takutea is an uninhabited 297-acre island located nine miles northwest of Atiu in the Cook Islands.  The people of Atiu Island own Takutea, which is home to many endemic and threatened bird species.

Seacology, working with the Atiu Island Trust, is funding the construction of housing on Atiu for the community’s elderly residents. In exchange, Atiu islanders will declare Takutea Island a wildlife sanctuary for 20 years. The community has also committed to creating a marine conservation area extending five miles out from Takutea’s shore. This will minimize intrusion by outside fishing vessels and unauthorized landings on the island.

Project Updates

May 2019

Tuaine Tuara, our Cook Islands field representative, reports that the wildlife sanctuary on Takutea Island and the restricted fishing zone remain under strict management. There is active monitoring and reporting by the Ministry of Marine, Conservation, and Environment and the Atiu leaders.

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May 2018

The concrete pad under the water tank have been repaired, and the last step is for a plumber to connect the fittings to tubs that allow for cleaning. Everything should be done by the end of June.

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January 2017

Most of this small maintenance project has been completed, and field representative Tuaine Tuara reports that the caretaker says the building is much improved. The exterior of the building has been repaired and repainted, and twin washtubs were installed. Some work on the concrete pad under the water tank remains to be done.

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January 2016

In October 2015, Seacology approved a maintenance grant for repair of the community housing, to keep rainwater from seeping in. After some delays in getting materials from New Zealand to Rarotonga, the materials arrived in Rarotonga and were shipped to Atiu in early January.

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April 2015

Field representative Tuaine Tuara visited Atiu Island and reports that the facility, which has a capacity of 38, is being fully used for two vulnerable groups: the elderly and community members with disabilities. She was very impressed with the rehabilitation, occupational therapy, and respite care being provided, and feedback from the island leaders was positive.
Community members say it is difficult at times to monitor the island of Takutea (the protected area) from the mainland due to its isolation from the Atiu Island. Local fisherman have noticed unauthorized landings of foreign fishing vessels, but according to the island leaders, the island is being well monitored and managed.

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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 has expanded the use of the hospital, when it is not occupied by elderly community members, as a facility for patients with disabilities.

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May 2008

As of April 2008, ongoing care of the facility was being provided by the community, with a public health officer overseeing activities. Conservation of Takutea islands is reported intact.

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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.

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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.

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