On a recent visit to Rarotonga LFW was impressed to meet up with a couple of innovative businesses determined to make the island environmentally sustainable and teach visitors, and locals, how to care for their ‘backyard’ which includes pristine beaches, a clean and clear lagoon, and caring for the reef and its tropical fish and coral, as well as air pollution and green energy. By Aine Dowling.
Tik-e tours catch phrase is ‘ride the island the earth friendly way’. This amazing and environmentally friendly business is the brainchild of Karl and Tania Jackson and the business started in mid-February this year with six unique and incredibly cute tuk-tuks. “We saw an opening for business with a difference,” says Tania, “one that offers something unique, fun, and will help the environment—so we did our research and purchased six electric powered tuk-tuks.”
The tuk-tuks are made in Thailand but are as far from the belching smoke Thai tuk-tuks as you can get. Lean and clean, the e-tuks are 100 per cent electric and manufactured to European, Australian and New Zealand standards. The five bright orange tuk-tuks colour scheme was Tania’s choice (her favourite colour) and they stand out as they tootle around the island. There is also a white wedding tuk-tuk, and a ‘world-first’ tuk-tuk with trailer that can carry six passengers and their luggage to and from Rarotonga airport.
Depending on the battery pack each single pack tuk-tuk can make two round trips of the island (one round trip takes about an hour), and the double packs can do four trips (about four hours) before they need recharging. The tuk-tuks also have rain covers that pull down to keep passengers dry and comfy in tropical downpours.
Since its start-up in February Tik-e tours has been flat out. “We do a range of tours around the island including scenic and history tours, market shuttle, dinner transfers, cocktail/happy hour hop, and private and corporate events,” says Tania, “and we’re hoping to get our airport transfer licence in the coming weeks. But what has really taken off is our wedding tuk-tuk which is a traditional white limo and you can hire it simply as the limo or have it decorated island style, or even have a tuk-tuk train for the bridal party and guests. We have ten weddings booked already over the next two months, and they’re proving popular with both locals and visitors alike.”
The wedding tuk-tuk includes the limo and driver, white ribbons, and decorations, but you can also upgrade to palm floral decorations and a wedding photo e-limo service to take you and your photographer to the best photo spots on the island. In keeping with the wedding theme Tik-e tours also offers a Hen & Bucks Night service to fun hotspots.
Assisted by the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project, the Cook Islands Government has vowed to generate all its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 using both solar and wind farms. “This will be a huge achievement for the islands,” says Tania, “and one that we can be a small part of by not using fossil fuels. Our plan is to eventually have solar panels on the tuk-tuks so that we don’t rely on any fuel source for power.
“We’re already 100 per cent fun, and we aim to be 100 per cent green too!”