Tetepare is the largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific region. Known as one of the conservation jewels in the Pacific, Tetepare is located off Rendova in the Solomon Islands Western Province. This rugged lowland rainforest is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest uninhabited tropical island.
Tetepare is home to Solomons leading conservation projects and an Ecolodge. It is also home to the Green Turtles that come to breed and nest during those seasons, as well as the leatherback turtles, dugongs, coconut crabs and several species of birds.
Uninhabited for the last 150 years or so, Tetepare represents some of the last natural lowland rainforest in the Solomon Islands, with most of the Western province now being commercially logged.
In 2002 descendants of the people of Tetepare formed an association (Tetepare Descendants Association) and later registered it in 2003, to oversee the management of the island including rangers to patrol and protect the island’s resources to ensure that fishing and harvesting is sustainable thus ensuring that there will be food and resources for future generations.
These rangers also patrol and protect the Ecolodge that allows visitors to enjoy the island’s beauty.
Descendants of the traditional owners continue to use Tetepare’s resources in a sustainable way whilst also protecting the island in perpetuity. They (descendants) have joined together to protect the island and conserve its natural resources and are working towards listing the island as a Protected Area.
These descendants have also benefitted from a range of initiatives including employment as rangers, turtle monitors, tour guides, cooks, boat drivers and managers, education and awareness, training, educational scholarships, look and learn visits and other grassroots initiatives.
Registered as an independent NGO, TDA has been supported by a number of long-term volunteers who assist with grant writing and funding. However before TDA was established the group that spearheaded it were called ‘Friends of Tetepare’. Many organizations continue to support TDA including Conservation International, Conservation Agreement Fund, Honeypot Foundation, WWF, SPREP, the EU, SICCP and a range of other NGOs.
A trust fund was also set up to support local scholarships for secondary students. This trust fund also contributes to the operational costs of the Association.
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Image Credit: Tourism Solomons