Fakalofa lahi atu from Ridge to Reef Niue. While the global pandemic is making and continued to make global headlines, the Ridge to Reef project in Niue has made a few headlines itself with some tangibles and intangible outcomes that aligned to its project objectives; ‘To enhance the communities capacity to create/add to existing terrestrial areas for conservation or protection; for the conservation of its biodiversity’ and therefore mitigating the threats and damages of another global phenomenon that is climate change. Some of these tangible outcomes had changed the look of the landscape in some areas of Niue in pursuit of future-proofing for the future generations.
The In-Situ Learning Center in Tuapa is near completion with the launch penned down for Quarter II. It’s going through a refurbishing phase at the moment with the SPC and Regional IW working collaboratively with Ridge to Reef Niue to equip the center with various IT accessories that will cater for educational and informational purposes.
The building is attached to the Tuapa community hall on the sea-side, an ideal location adjacent to the marine area the community had identified as a marine projected area from the shore to the reef. The Village Council has after consultation with the village, had decided to name it the ‘Ofaga Pulotu he Tumuakifouna ke he Uluulu’ – Tuapa Marine Learning Center.
The shore area adjacent to the Learning Center – a potential Marine Protected Area from the shore to the reef.
The learning center was a Tuapa project proposal along with project proposals from other villages as a capacity building exercise by the Ridge to Reef project. The idea of having it utilized as a western reef concept for all the villages on the west coast of Niue, from Mutalau in the north to Avatele in the deep south was then integrated into the proposal to make it more accessible for all of them village to contribute to strengthen the conservation and sustainable use of land, water and marine areas and their biodiversity by building on their cultural heritage values through integrated national and community actions.
The Management Plan for the Huvalu Area Conservation Area was launched in February at the Liku and Hakupu villages. This Management Plan completed a community initiative that began just over 30 years ago by the two villages to build local capacities to ensure effective conservation of biodiversity plus the enhancement of ecosystem functions that contribute to food ecurity and livelihood from the Huvalu Conservation Area, an area that covers approximately 20% of Niue’s terrestrial landscape. Over 100 books were distributed to the two villages with the aim for each family/household to have one book each. This is significant accomplishment for Niue’s only recognized conservation area that is now a recognized entity on the world stage where it can access some assistance from the IUCN if needed. The Ridge to Reef management would like to acknowledge all who contributed to the compilation of this very important document – the Niue Government, R2R’s Responsible and Implementing Partners and the villages of] Liku and Hakupu who participated in the compilation of the Management Plan that included the field trips into the Huvalu forest and the surrounding areas.
The Hakupu community turned out in force to celebrate and bless the launch of the Huvalu Conservation Area Management.
There was also an agreement to use Huvalu as the boundary between the two villages instead of pin-pointing the exact terrestrial boundary like all the other villages in Niue. This agreement was considered a momentous achievement about the significance of the community initiative that began in the early 1990’s. This Huvalu Management Plan had allowed the two communities to access additional assistance from the R2R team to realize some of their aspirations that they saw fit to contribute towards mitigating the threats of climate change amongst other human-related developments/activities at local level.
The mapping exercise by the Niue Ocean-Wide (NOW) is now completed with all the villages continuing a similar consultation process undertaken by the Ridge to Reef project team. This NOW consultation process will add significantly and will compliment what the R2R team is doing in regards to processing a Management Plan for each village.
This Niue Ocean-Wide project; backed by some global influential philanthropy personnel, had influenced some significant outcomes for Niue’s marine environment along with the Ridge to Reef project which had injected some funding assistance to areas where both share similar project objectives and the village consultations will add considerable amount of long term tangible outcomes for Niue with a financial strategy being developed to ensure its sustainability is maintained long after both projects are completed in Niue.
Project Manager of Niue Ocean-Wide, Brendon Pasisi with the Liku community.
Niue Ridge to Reef and Niue Ocean-Wide will conclude their presence in Niue within the next couple of years with some key government departments, who are Responsible Partners, to continue what both projects have helped to build and implement during their tenure in Niue.
Biogas Plant in Vaipapahi Nursery Farm – the building to house the Biogas plant is near completion with the plant expecting to be here in Niue not too far away. This Ridge to Reef backed initiative will ensure some of the Nursery Farms waste output, mainly from the piggery section of the farm will be converted into reusable gas energy.