Muri Environment Care

Current Projects

1. GEF SGP Streams & WATERWAYS Ecology project

During this reporting period, the GEF Riparian Restoration Pilots project has made satisfactory progress according to our planned schedule. We have been focusing on four pilot ideas, each contributing to the overall goal of stream restoration in Rarotonga. 

Our first pilot project involves ecosystem engineering species trials, where we have discovered the value of Vetiver grass for streambank stabilization. We have planted nearly 300 meters of streams with Vetiver grass, including a dense grid at our main pilot site, effectively protecting the streambank against erosion. Challenges such as damage from wild animals and lack of awareness among individuals are still being addressed through protection strategies and community outreach efforts. Another pilot project focuses on observation-based passive restoration, allowing us to study natural processes and identify new pioneer native species for future restoration. 

We have also been reintroducing native plants to riparian corridors, collaborating with local landowners and utilizing traditional knowledge to enhance long-term ecosystem resilience. Lastly, we have plans to implement swales on contours to manage water runoff and mitigate erosion. While the swales project is in the design and consultation phase, we anticipate its successful implementation in the next reporting period. Community engagement, nursery expansion, and enhancing educational programs have been significant aspects of our work, ensuring the involvement and learning of volunteers and community members. 

Through continuous evaluation, adaptation, and effective communication, we have gained valuable experiences and lessons that will guide our future strategies in stream restoration and community involvement.

2. SIF FUND community volunteers grant project

“To advance the development of the ecological-restoration specific plant nursery as it constitutes the crucial foundation for our riparian restoration initiatives, supplying a broad spectrum of resilient, locally adapted plants. Furthermore, it fosters community engagement and education, creating a vibrant space where volunteers can learn about native species propagation, ecological restoration, and the intricate relationships between plants and their surrounding environments.”

Our journey centers around the establishment of the Takitumu Nursery—a space dedicated to ecological restoration, community engagement, and cultural preservation. With the invaluable support of the SIF, we have created a nurturing environment that brings together volunteers, students, and community members to foster environmental stewardship.

3. AUS DFAT ACCGP grant project.

“The Australia-Cook Islands Community Grants Program (ACCGP) is a funding initiative by the Australian High Commission that supports projects aiming to promote sustainable development, reduce poverty, and foster a greater sense of community. We at the Muri Environment Care team are thrilled to be undertaking a project funded by this program.

Our project focuses on locating, protecting, and propagating local plant species that have small or declining populations. This involves dedicated field work in the mountains of the Rarotonga and other botanically significant areas where we aim to locate these species and understand their unique needs. We also aim to enhance their habitats and work towards both in-situ and ex-situ conservation strategies.

To accommodate these species, we will be expanding our nursery and creating a unique microclimate that mirrors their natural habitat. This will involve the construction of a specialized shade house and the enhancement of our watering system. Through our focused efforts, we hope to significantly contribute to the preservation of our unique botanical heritage and enrich the biodiversity value of our projects.

The funding also allows for the us to take on a paid biodiversity field assistanct for 6-8 hours per week. 

4. CIT Regenerative Tourism project

Muri Environment Care (MEC) is honoured to announce its partnership with the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation (CIT) in the exciting new Regenerative Tourism Experiences Pilot Programme. This initiative, led by CIT, is a novel approach to sustainable tourism in the Cook Islands, embedding the principles of environmental preservation and restoration into the core of our visitor experiences.

As a proud participant in this programme, MEC is offering opportunities for tourists to actively contribute to the ecological restoration of Rarotonga’s streams, coastlines, and lagoons. By involving our visitors in meaningful ecological restoration activities, we provide them with a deeper connection to the unique natural beauty of the Cook Islands, while also creating a lasting positive impact on our local ecosystems.

MEC’s involvement in this programme represents our commitment to promoting responsible and mindful travel, and our vision of tourism that enhances both visitor experience and the wellbeing of our local environment and community.