Access and benefit-sharing in the Koutu Nui community
Dr Graham Matheson, a medical researcher brought up in the Cook Islands, had long observed the traditional use of native plants for medical and therapeutic applications. In 2003, his research on medical and therapeutic remedies based on plant extracts and associated traditional knowledge led to the establishment of CIMTECH, a company which incorporates the Koutu Nui indigenous community as a shareholder. A benefit-sharing agreement was also reached with the Koutu Nui under mutually agreed terms. After the launch of a skincare line derived from genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge from the Cook Islands, tangible benefits are being channelled to the Koutu Nui community, including improved livelihood security for the staff employed at the laboratory and processing facility in Rarotonga.