The Cook Islands “Turama Group” - A Responsible Approach to building and

The Cook Islands “Turama Group” - A Responsible Approach to building and

Cook Islands
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We set out to create a statement about responsible building practices and energy conservation in our country. We physically bought in technology and equipment that is still used today on island to build energy efficient buildings.

We are focused on the environment and have a number of projects in hand to further devolop our stance in this area. We are currently going through the legal process to formalize the Turama Pacific Environmental Trust which will target wildlife and palntlife conservation projects within the Cook Islands

We wish to become the environmental beacon for the Cook Islands as a company and deliver results to the Cook Islands

Your idea
This will be the address used to plot your entry on the map.
Street Address

Main Road, Panama, Nikao

City

rarotonga

State/Province
Postal/Zip Code

1001

Country
Year innovation began

2001

Geotourism Challenge Addressed by Entrant

Quality of tourism management and impact on the destination

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Indicate sector in which you principally work

Tourism-related business

Geographic location

Urban, Coast, Rainforest.

Plot your innovation within the Mosaic of Solutions
Main barrier addressed

Lack of local input

Main insight addressed

Incorporate sustainable practices

Innovation
What is the goal of your innovation?

To set a benchmark for responsible Tourism Development and maximize use of renewable energy and efficient management of energy and water usage

How does your approach support or embody geotourism?

We bought a building technology and method to the Cook Islands that has wide spread benefits for commercial and domestic buildings. To achieve this, we as a company (not a builder) bought in the technology, our own crane and equipment to build and now this equipment is commercially used by others to continue this type of construction. There are now a number of buildings in the Cook Islands built with this technology, both commercial and private. Our building creates the following savings per annum
Renewable Energy – greenhouse savings 4,180kgs.
Energy efficiency – greenhouse savings 35,600kgs.
Energy Management – greenhouse savings 13,740kgs

Describe your approach in detail. How is it innovative?

We were told by our Engineering company (who are an internationally recognized company) that solar energy was not workable financially and their lack of concern in this area were really quite deplorable. We chose to ignore this advice and through our perseverance, we found a company that could offer accurate and positive advice and solutions that although they had a cost, were sustainable and offered not only the energy savings but longer term pay back of the additional costs. We used a system of walls called Thermomass which was an imbedded foam inside outer concrete walls that created an improved thermal factor of 45% on a standard concrete building. We also had a complete audit of lighting wiring, and equipment and buy spending a little more, we could in the long term save considerable water, power, fuel and energy costs

What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?

By bring the technology and equipment to Rarotonga, we achieved a lot of professional development as the building, whilst supervised from New Zealand, was built by local companies and that in itself transferred the knowledge to our local industry. Since then there have been a number of buildings constructed using this technology. We have achieved a lot here already and our policy of open door availability to the technology we used and the report provided, has been the basis for a lot of energy projects on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands

Impact
In one sentence describe what kind of impact, change, or reform your approach is intended to achieve.

To set a clear example of responsible Building with maximum focus on environmental issues

Describe the degree of success of your approach to date. Clearly define how you measure quantitative and qualitative impact in terms of how your approach contributes to the sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How does your approach minimize negative impacts? 200 words or less

We believe our building would be the most environmentally friendly office building in the Cook Islands and in fact within the whole of the South pacific Islands. We have had many people borrow our assessment and use that as a starting point for their own energy considerations. The tilt slab construction has provided some low cost housing options as well as usage in accommodation buildings in the Cook Islands. Such buildings require less power to cool. We collect water from our roof and purefy that on site and all staff can access this water at no costs. Our Waste water is spread through gardens and over a specific seepage field – there being no sewerage system in the Cook Islands at present.

How does your program promote traveler enthusiasm, satisfaction, and engagement with the locale?

We have not really flouted what we have done to our customers but now we are finalizing our Green Globe assessments for certification and at that stage we will promote this as our way of being responsible. We have raised $11000 and are forming the Turama Pacific Environmental Trust to focus on specific programs with plant life, birds and animals. We will make this trust available to our Travel partners overseas and our Tourists in the Cooks as son as it is formally set up

In what ways are local residents actively involved in your innovation, including participation and community input? How has the community responded to or benefited from your approach?

The schools have visited out building for study and as mentioned above, staff have access to free safe drinking water for them and families. Many people have reviewed what we have done and incorporated parts of our plans into their own designs and homes – we readily share this information

Describe how your innovation helps travelers and local residents better understand the value of the area’s cultural and natural heritage, and educates them on local environmental issues. How do you motivate them to act responsibly in their future travel decisions?

Currently we have not pushed our environmental responsibility to our industry overseas – we have preferred to “walk the walk” rather than expound what we have done. This challenge entry along with our Green Globe certification and our environmental Trust is our first real attempt to stand up and say that we are a very environmentally friendly company and we encourage our local partners to view what we do and take note of what we have achieved on our own in a very quiet manner

Sustainability
Is your initiative financially and organizationally sustainable? If not, what is required to make it so? What is the potential demand for your innovation?

Totally – we have recouped already our additional expenditure at construction time and we are financially in profit. We have a structure that is strong – we have been able to get cyclone insurance in an area of the island that you normally cannot get cover. As stated above, there are now a number of other buildings that have followed our lead and others have taken note of what we did and have taken on their own energy projects

How is your initiative currently financed? If available, provide information on your finances and organization that could help others. Please list: Annual budget, annual revenue generated, size of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff.

We are a trading Tourism company dealing with transportation, inbound, retail and incentive packaging in the Cook Islands – Our building was self and ban funded. We employ 40+ full time staff and 20 part time staff such as drivers etc.
Our annual turnover is over NZ$ 15 million.

What is your plan to expand your approach? Please indicate where/how you would like to grow or enhance your innovation, or have others do so.

We are discussing with Green Globe in New Zealand as to how we can initially start with basic hotel and supplier assessments of best practices so we can not only rate the product we sell in a star rating but also in a green rating. We would like to be the catalyst for this as Governments worldwide encourage their own company’s (who we deal with), to be environmentally responsible

What are the main barriers you encounter in managing, implementing, or replicating your innovation? What barriers keep your program from having greater impact?

Time would be our biggest inhibitor – we could have been Green Globe rated from day 1 – we have established now a committee at work of staff and a Chairman who is our official Green Globe person so that staff but in to what we are doing and through that, we hope take the practices home and in to the community. Distance to expertise is an issue also – we have offered to bring someone up from Green Globe at our costs to further advance our accreditation and to hold some workshops locally for our industry to buy in to a sustainable environment. The Cook Islands relies 60% of its GDP from Tourism and yet we have allowed development to endanger the environment and we must push Government to focus on the environment and preservation. Government lacks the real will to tackle crucial issues of sewerage and waste disposal – It has been the private sector that has taken the lead and must continue to do so to make this work

The Story
What is the origin of your innovation? Tell your story.

We set out to build as we were spread over 4 buildings and at the same time we wanted to set an example for our industry of how to be responsible and to go forward in positive way for our industry – our Building is named Turama House – Turama being a local word for light – vision – beacon. The word Turama comes from our Land title area ‘Turamatuti’ - we asked one of our Traditional Ariki’s (Queen or High Chief) what we should call our building and hence the name Turama House. That now seems appropriate to what we are striving to achieve environmentally and for the long term sustainability of our industry and the Country’s economy.
We have an exceptionally environmentally friendly office building with sound environmental practices that are being honed by our focus on Green Globe and how we can do things differently – how we can make a difference.
We wish to start to expound now what we have done, are doing and will do in the future to really make a further contribution and impact on not only our industry locally and by promotion, regionally, but also for our Country and the region.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.

Born in Christchurch New Zealand in 1951, I worked from 1969 to 1990 with various airlines - Air New Zealand, Polynesian Airlines, Air Niugini, Ansett New Zealand, Hawaiian Airlines and Air Rarotonga.

In 1990 Island Hopper Vacations was opened with local partners, as the Cook Islands first full service inbound operator. Island Hopper Vacations is now Part of the Turama Pacific Travel Group which includes two inbound operators, a destination management company and a Tour / Transfer operation.

I am a Board member off Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, SouthPacific.Travel and am Vice President of the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council

Please write an overview of your project. This text will appear when people scroll over the icon for your entry on the Google map located on the competition homepage.

We set out to create a statement about responsible building practices and energy conservation in our country. We physically bought in technology and equipment that is still used today on island to build energy efficient buildings.

We are focused on the environment and have a number of projects in hand to further devolop our stance in this area. We are currently going through the legal process to formalize the Turama Pacific Environmental Trust which will target wildlife and palntlife conservation projects within the Cook Islands

We wish to become the environmental beacon for the Cook Islands as a company and deliver results to the Cook Islands