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How Palmerston beat Brazil to the Olympics

Saturday August 20, 2016 Written by Published in Weekend
The Palmerston Mini Olympics even had a team representing the Republic of South Africa. 16081614 The Palmerston Mini Olympics even had a team representing the Republic of South Africa. 16081614

The Games Organisation:

Bury Andrew Marsters and I had to organise the Mini Olympics.


We did not have all of the sports equipment on our atoll, so we had to be creative and innovative. We used earth oven stones for the shot puts and frisbees for the discus. Our relay batons were made out of tamanu (mahogany) wood. We re-introduced the tug-o-war which used to be an Olympic sport between the 1900s-1920.

We organised the school into four main country teams representing four of the continents around the world. Our teams represented the Cook Islands, the Republic of South Africa, China and the USA. We also invited young adults and parents on the island to join our teams. Our opening ceremony was hosted by the Cook Islands team.

The games we chose were volleyball, 100m sprints, walkathon, marathon, team relay, team tug-o-war, shot put, frisbee discus, football shoot and weightlifting.

Bury and I were pretty pleased with our efforts to select and choose a range of Olympic Games and still keep it close to the real Olympics. Although we had to cater to the challenges of lack of resources (because we are an isolated atoll, with no airstrip and we don’t have any shops on the island), the range of abilities and ages of our students and community mapu and parents, we were pretty pleased with the overall Olympics theme and the event. By the end of the games, the smiles on the faces were absolutely priceless!

We are grateful for the community for participating and coming to support the event.

                        Bury Andrew Marsters (17) and

                        school principal Katarina Neale


The Olympic Torch:

We asked Grandpa Simon Marsters to make the torch for us. He made it out of bamboo. I put varnish on it and painted the base blue. We had a torch ceremony and I lit the torch. We walked the torch around the whole island. It looked cool!

                        Manaariki Kaukura Moetaua (13)


We had a great time with our responsibility to make the Olympic torch. We got to interact with the whole community. We were surprised and pleased with the results of our planning and efforts.                            (Mr Josh Simon – staff member)


The Podium:

Mr Marc Marsters and I built the podium using any scrap wood we could find around the island. We cleaned, sanded and painted the podium light yellow. We numbered the stands, 1, 2 and 3. Lastly, we decorated the podium with local flowers. We felt good about the job we did! The competitors looked proud to stand on the podium during the medals ceremony.

                                    Sareanna Marsters (18), 

            Mr Marconi Marsters – school staff member


The Olympic Flag:

The process of making our Olympic flag was very exciting! Research was done via Google to see what actual size the flag was, the size of the rings and the colours of the rings.

With the help of Charles Frisbie, one of our family members, we hand-made our flag. We measured a piece of poplin material, but then decided that we should reduce the measurements as we are an isolated island and we don’t have many cargo boats and supplies coming in.

Our material was hemmed using a sewing machine. Again with the help of Charles Frisbie, the circles were drawn and the name was printed and painted on the flag material, all by hand! The hardest part of making the flag was ensuring that the circles were round and not oval and that they were straight and not crooked. We were also given the assignment of helping the teams prepare their country team flags and team uniforms. It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun and exciting to see the finished products.

            (Memory Moetaua (18) and

             Miss Teriimaevarua Marsters – staff member


The Olympic Medals:

Deon Frisbie and I were responsible for making the medals for our Mini Olympic Games. We decided that we would like to use the natural materials from around the island to make unique, Palmerston-style medals.

The materials we used were ariri stones, wood, and black pendant string. The medals were cut into three different shapes. The bronze medal was a hexagon shape, then silver medal was a diamond and the gold medal was a circle.

The medals were also decorated with beautiful patterns and bright colours. Finally, to finish the medals off, a coat of varnish was applied. With the help of kind parents, 96 amazing medals and nine fantastic trophies were made. This was a huge job! We would like to thank everyone on the island involved in this task.

            Deon Frisbie (11) and

            Mrs Melissa Simon – staff member


The Sponsored Olympic Prizes:

We went around the island’s homes and asked all of the families for whatever they could give for prizes. It was a very successful collection. Coca Cola, cold coconuts, soaps and much more. Many people gave food, even though the island was running low on food. They were all so generous and gave fully from their hearts. The number of prizes we had was a guarantee that everyone would get something at the end of the Olympics Day.

            Nauma Marsters (12) and

            Mrs Nano Marsters – staff member 


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