Students from Apii Arorangi, Nikao, Te Uki Ou, Avarua, Rutaki, Titikaveka College, St Joseph’s Primary and Takitumu Primary all competed in skills such as laying and creating an umu, weaving, coconut-husking, storytelling, performing an ute and showing off their drumming and ukulele skills.
Highland Paradise managing director Teuira (Tutu) Pirangi said the event had grown from the first one seven years ago.
“When we started this competition we weren’t sure about how it would turn out, but today with the turnout for our seventh edition, you can see that it is an important event for the primary schools to take part in.
“This is also shown with two new schools included this year – Takitumu and St Joseph’s who are competing for the first time”.
Tutu said competitions such as this were an important part of the children’s learning about their culture.
“It gives the kids a sense of belonging, about who they are and their heritage. One of the tasks today involves putting down an umu (earth overn) and this is certainly a big task, but it brings the kids back to the basics and to what our ancestors did in their day.” Takitumu Primary teacher James Keen said the school’s decision to join the competition for the first time was made in an effort to extend the students’ learning.
“We decided it would be a fantastic learning opportunity for our students and would enhance the culture competition we already have at school”.
Keen said he was proud of his student’s efforts.
“The kids did really well considering it was our first time competing. They have all been practicing the various events really hard over the last few weeks and have definitely improved.
“Our deputy principal, Marianna Mataio, and our fantastic parents have been working tirelessly to ensure we were as prepared as we could be.
“Overall it is just such a great learning experience and we plan to be back next year.”
At the time of going to print, results had yet to be announced but will follow in tomorrow’s paper along with photos from the day’s action.