14 May 2014

Cooks get first ever climate resilient harbour

5:44 pm on 14 May 2014

A man-made climate resilient harbour, believed to be the world's first, has been constructed at Mangaia Island in the Cook Islands.

In 2005, Mangaia Harbour was destroyed by two tropical cyclones, Meena and Nancy, leaving the residents only able to import and export goods through expensive air freight.

The project's manager, from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Peniamina Leavai, says it used a storm surge calculator to redesign and strengthen the harbour.

Mr Leavai says the 1.2 million US dollar project is the first of its kind.

"This might fail in the next 5, 10 years, this might not fail, but the idea is that we are learning. And the only way to learn it was trial and error. Bringing the climate scientists together, with the economists as well as the engineers and the people of Mangaia. We hope to learn from this, and we would like to share it with other Pacific Island countries, and share it with the rest of the world."

Peniamina Leavai says the new harbour will mean more trade and economic development for Mangaia Island.