Cook Islands environmentalist sets up new foundation

Jacqui Evans recievs the 2019 Goldman Environmental Prize. Picture: RNZ

Prominent Cook Islands environmentalist, Jacqui Evans, has set up the Moana Foundation to help support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country.

Ms Evans last year won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her work in establishing the country’s huge marine reserve, the Marae Moana.

The organisation behind the prize say it is for grassroots environmental heroes.

Ms Evans won several hundred thousand dollars and, with some of that money, she is setting up the Moana Foundation to help NGOs with their funding.

“I wanted to do something that was going to help them be resourced for what they are doing, because NGOs are always struggling to get funding and there’s never enough money for all the work they want to do,” she said.

“They’re just so full of heart and good intentions so I wanted to do something that was going to focus on building funding for them.”

Ms Evans was removed as the co-ordinator of the Marae Moana soon after winning the Goldman Environmental Prize.

She had raised concerns about the government’s enthusiasm for pushing ahead with plans to mine the ocean floor.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna has this week been quoted in the Cook Islands News saying the prize should have gone to Kevin Iro, who last year was made the Marae Moana ambassador.


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