The Mana Tiaki Eco Certification often referred to as eco accreditation or green accreditation is a joint project between the National Environment Service through the Ridge to Reef project, Te Ipukarea Society our local environmental NGO, the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council, and the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation. “A steering committee made up of these partners has been working on these new aspirational standards since 2018” said Sieni Tiraa, Destination Development Coordinator with Cook Islands Tourism.
With the growth of tourism in the Cook Islands, the protection of our natural environment is even more crucial to the long term sustainability of our tourism industry. The Eco Certification is a set of standards that has been established to embed biodiversity considerations and renewed conservation efforts into the everyday operations of the Tourism Industry. Business operations that achieve Mana Tiaki Eco-Certification are rewarded with the recognition that this type of green accreditation can bring. “The MTEC will run similarly to Cook Islands Quality Assured which is the basic standards accreditation scheme. It is a framework for best practice, celebrating and recognising those going above and beyond, as well as encouraging others to take on more sustainable practices” added Tiraa.
To coincide with the launch of the Eco Certification Cook Islands Tourism and the Ridge to Reef Project organized a Green Expo. The little expo included eight vendors who provide ecofriendly and biodegradable products and services on the island. The vendors included Biolytx Eco Toilets, Te Ipukarea Society Worm Farm, Cook Islands Trading Corporation, Paradise Supplies, Sunshines Kikau Baskets, Red Pack, Debs Eco Box, and electric cars and bikes from Polynesian Rentals, and Te Aponga Uira our local electric utility. The purpose of the Green Expo was to showcase the suppliers and/or organisations who provide environmental products or services to the business community. The products and services could help these businesses achieve the set of standards set out in the Mana Tiaki Eco Certification which will essentially assist them with gaining their eco accreditation.