9 Apr 2009

Cooks landowners oppose coral removal for Mini Games competition

1:38 pm on 9 April 2009

Landowners near Muri lagoon off Rarotonga in the Cook Islands say they are strongly opposed to any removal of coral to smooth the way for canoe racing at this year's Pacific Mini Games.

The organising committee's Mac Mokoroa says the removal of around eight coral outcrops and replanting of them in other parts of the lagoon is one idea that has been put forward to ensure the competitors are not hampered during racing.

Mr Mokoroa says no decision will be made without the approval of landowners or the Environment Council.

Noeline Kainuku-Browne, says as part of one landowning family she is horrified at the suggestion and she says other family members say if such a move is necessary then the racing must be held elsewhere.

Ms Kainuku-Browne, who also represents the Avana-Muri Marine Action Group, says they are simply trying to protect the lagoon.

"Chopping down more of the coral is not going to be assisting that area at all. You know we are not against the Games whatsoever,, but we can't see the point. Why would they need to chop down the coral when they have had plenty of races out there - vaka ava and all the other races have raced out there with absolutely no problems - why would they need to?"

Noeline Kainuku-Browne