6 Nov 2013

Mangaia's residents in Cook Islands want to be more self-sufficient

9:31 am on 6 November 2013

After years of promised development from outside groups, but little follow through, people on the island of Mangaia in the Cook Islands are finding ways to become more self-sufficient.

Leaders on Mangaia have been encouraging communities to stop waiting for central government or donors to help, and to take action themselves.

The mayor of Mangaia, Tere Atariki, says as an example, central government had earmarked about 800 thousand dollars for a major water project for the island, but the money disappeared, and nothing was done.

He says frustrated with waiting, they found their own solution.

"The public utility with the water works and energy people, they've come up with this bright idea, we got some of the bits and pieces of pipes and pumps, so they put it together and there we go, we've got our water system going. I think it costs around about 6 thousand dollars, from our own resources."

Tere Atariki says they have also planted crops that don't need a lot of water, like pineapple, banana and dragon fruit, so people can generate their own income.