Tuesday, March 19

The story of Te Are Manu

Te Are Manu is the only vet clinic in the Cook Islands and it's now a busy, well-equipped place.
But it didn't start out that way.
In July 2017 we leased a building behind the Ministry of Agriculture in Arorangi.
Cook Islands Investment Corporation did a great job of cleaning and painting our new clinic.
The back yard needed clearing of discarded rubbish.
Volunteers and board members put together donated shelves and sanded and painted second-hand cupboards and tables.
We also had an operating table and trolleys to be assembled.
Early volunteer vets and vet nurses organised the supplies that were now coming in.
The Te Are Manu sign on the main road showed we were getting ready for business.
Donated vet supplies were now arriving from clinics overseas, mainly in New Zealand.
A washing machine, dryer and fridge were donated by previous Rarotonga residents now living in New Zealand.
Although we weren't yet officially open we had our first furry patient.
Pinot Gris came along for a check up and de-flea.
On 13 October 2017 we had our official opening ...
and after a rousing imene tuki, board chairman Trish Barton and board members asked Tinomana Ariki, the ariki of Puaikura, and Taamo Heather, the landowner representative, to cut the ei.
We were now officially up and running.
The Aronga Mana of Puaikura nominated Te Are Manu for a Village Pride award.
We put our $1500 prize towards buying a van for the clinic.
The back of the room was organised into an office space and a work space.
The main purpose of our clinic is to look after sick animals
and our operating theatre was well-set up for this.
Many generous vet clinics overseas have given us equipment that's surplus to their needs.
Our volunteer vets and vet nurses make full use of the theatre.
Our lovely new operating theatre was originally set up by CareVet
for the SPCA dog de-sexing team and is now fully functional.
Dr Sean Owens and Dr Jessica Sanchez from the University of California at Davis have set up a diagnostic lab to help detect parasites in animals.
Te Are Manu doesn't work in a vacuum.
We assisted Aitutaki Vet Trek, an American group, including two vets and two vet nurses, travelling to Aitutaki for a cat de-sexing programme. They've gone two years in a row, 2018 and 2019.
We also work closely with the Cook Islands SPCA – Te Are Manu is the vet clinical side and SPCA is the animal rescue and shelter side.
Whenever we have enough volunteers Te Are Manu sets up a stall at the Saturday morning market.
This means people can meet our volunteers and learn about our services.
And we bring along kittens and Sonny the clinic dog - always popular, especially with children.
The yard at the back of the clinic has always been a place for our dogs to play and especially clinic dog Sonny who mentors young pups spending the day with us.
In July 2018 we started building a kennel for our recovering animals – cats as well as dogs – to make things less stressful (and smelly) for everybody.
The kennel is now in use and can be accessed directly from the new operating theatre.
We couldn't do all this without our volunteers.
The vets and vet nurses come from all over the world, mainly New Zealand and Australia but we've also had people from England, Ireland, all parts of Europe, the United States and even Singapore. It's a real united nations.
They are all dedicated professionals willing to donate their time and expertise to help our furry friends here in the Cook Islands.
Meitaki maata – thank you all very much.