Environmental Photography

Exhibition of Photos at the Bergman Gallery

There are various means of activating environmental awareness in order to achieve a positive change in behaviour. One creative way in which such messages can be delivered is through the use of photographic imagery. The Tereora College year 12 ‘Environmental Sustainability’ class of 2020 are the first of 6 high schools to undergo an environmental photography programme run by Te Ipukarea Society. The programme aims to expose students towards various local environmental issues, along with introducing students to an alternative means of communication environmental messages. Photography is a powerful medium that can cross over social and language barriers, allowing the simple and effective communication of important environmental messages. There are 21 individual photographs in the online gallery each depicting an environmental message which was of personal significance to each of the students represented in the programme. Environmental messages range from waste issues to local biodiversity and invasive species.

Meitaki to all of you who came and gave your support, what a great turnout.

The event runs until Saturday 19th September so pop in to see it or you can view the photos here

Big Congrats to the two winners who took home generous prizes from Magic Reef Bungalows - Rarotonga

Maiata Mussell won Best Photo and Eileen Vakapora won 'Most Aspiring Photographer'.

Meitaki maata to the sustainability class of 2020 for given us an insight into how our youth see our Ipukarea today.

Our Environment Through The Eyes Of Our Youth Today

Written by Alanna Smith

Much of the work that Te Ipukarea Society is involved in includes grass roots awareness raising in the area of conservation and sustainable environmental practices. How we share these messages are achieved through various platforms, from social media, to tv ads, posters and brochures.

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Of the various platforms that can be used to get our message across, it is the power of still environmental photos that has always caught my eye. What I like most about photography is that from just a simple click, an image can create an important message that reaches a wide audience. It crosses the language and cultural divide. How these photos are perceived by the individual then has the power to create lasting environmental change at both local or global scales.

Not only does photography have the power to create behavioural change, but the technical skills acquired can also create exciting employment opportunities for our youth, both locally and internationally e.g. from tourism to international platforms such as National Geographic and Time Magazine.

In the hopes of developing some interest within this niche area, particularly with an environmental focus, Te Ipukarea Society with the support of the US Embassy in New Zealand has secured funding to carry out environmental photography classes across 6 local high schools across Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu.

Part of the programme is to engage youth in our local environmental issues, covering landscapes from the ridge to the reef. The positives, negatives, threats and solutions will all be discussed by experts from local NGO’s Te Ipukarea Society, Kōrero o te `Ōrau and also government agencies. Students will then be taught how to use Nikon DSLR cameras as well as the editing skills involved by local photographers Tokerau Jim and Turama Photography.

By the end of the programme each student will have then come up with a portfolio of photos of a particular issue or area they feel most connected to. One photo each will then be selected and presented on canvas boards and exhibited for students to share their underlying messages with families and friends.

Our youth today offer a different perspective when it comes to how they see our environment. From having spent some time with local students of all ages, I find it super refreshing to sense our tamariki and mapu are becoming more aware and conscious about our Mana Tiaki values. They are in the great position of having exposure to both old and modern sustainable practices. The future they aspire to needs to be heard, and this programme hopes to offer an alternative platform to public speaking through the use of images taken through the lens of our youth today.

The U.S Ambassador to the Cook Islands, Mr Scott Brown says "We are proud to support this significant and creative project in the Cook Islands happening over the next 3 years in Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Atiu. We hope the youth in Rarotonga and Pa Enua make the most of this opportunity to learn practical skills. We look forward to seeing the photos they capture of your fabulous country while also promoting our shared value of environmental protection."