This excursion was made possible through a partnership with the Ministry of Cultural Development, Ministry of Education, landowners, community and Cook’s Buses.
The students and those accompanied them learned about Te Toka o Papehia, the historical London Missionary Society Sunday School Hall that is now called The Beachcomber, Te Para O Tane Palace of Makea Nui, Marae Taputapuatea, Ziona Tapu (Avarua Cook Islands Christian Church), Takamoa Theological College and grounds, Arai-te-tonga site, Aranui o Toi or Ara Metua, Avana, Ebenezera (Ngatangiia CICC Church), Betela (Titikaveka CICC Church), Te Atu Pare or Marae o Te Ui Kuki Airani and Tuoro, also known as Black Rock.
“We are extremely excited to be wrapping up our Cook Islands Maori Cultural School programme for 2018 with a historical and cultural field trip,” said principal Shelley Berry.
Berry said the Maori Cultural teacher, Mrs Vano had been working hard liaising with the Ministry of Culture and organised the tour guides for the event.
Permission was sought from the landowners for the school to visit their properties, she said.
“As part of the school’s alignment and curriculum, it is important for the students to understand their cultural history, their legends and stories, the history of the gospel in the Cook Islands and most importantly, to preserve and perpetuate the culture, traditional knowledge, love and appreciation for the many historical sites that they live around,” Berry said.
St Joseph’s School has taught Cook Islands Maori culture through arts, crafts, singing, dancing, weaving, science, agriculture etc. Vano believes that it is paramount for each of the students to learn about the vibrant Cook Islands culture.
“When you teach our children about Cook Islands culture you see them light up and their creativity is a powerful stimulant.
“No matter where our children are from, each one of them have a strong love and passion for cultural activities and values. They are innovative, artistic, possible future inventors and leaders in the making. It is our responsibility as teachers to provide them with the tools to achieve whatever their young heart’s desire,” she said.
“For me learning is not only in the classroom but it is also at home, in the community and doing site visits.
“Let’s all show our children that our culture is rich and its values can help our children in real life and strengthen their personal skills. They must know their history, gain a love for it and share it to preserve it. They are our future and our traditional knowledge, values are in their hands.”
Vano said the children loved visiting the historical and cultural sites.
It was wonderful to see them talking to each other about the historical and cultural sites they were visiting, she added.
“It’s a fantastic partnership that we hope will continue in the New Year. We thank Ministry of Culture staff, Ministry of Education, Community members and parents for supporting us in our learning activities.”
St Joseph’s School will continue to grow its Maori Cultural Learning programme with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture and the community.
The school appreciates all the wonderful support from the community, who have invested a significant amount of resources to restore, preserve, and protect the natural and cultural resources of the Cook Islands, says Vano
“We are stewards of our land and with the Lord we can accomplish anything.”