It has been run by organisations Korero o te Orau and Manava Ora o te Ivi Maori and primarily held at the Avana Sunday School and the Te Miromiro Marae in Ngatangiia.
The programme focused on the preservation of Cook Islands language and culture, cultivation, the environment and marine conservation.
Some of the activities over the week-long programme included storytelling, traditional games, chanting, kikau weaving, climbing coconut trees, making fishing rods and stilts, husking and grating coconuts, catching chickens, and preparing the umu by collecting river rocks and firewood.
Chairman of Korero o te Orau, Dr Teina Rongo said: “This cultural experience has been for our children to learn more about their environment. We believe teaching the children our Cook Islands traditional practices will reconnect them with the importance of protecting our environment and cultural values.”
Rongo said it is the simple things the children are doing like husking and grating coconuts that is working towards raising awareness about our environment and getting our younger generation to appreciate our natural resources.
“Climate change and development is effecting our environment. So our people won’t see the impact of those things until they are connected to it. We are having a hard time raising awareness about our environment with our older generations so we thought a way to do this is from the bottom and teach these values to the children.”
He said people have moved away from using natural resources and don’t see the value of having access to these.
“We are not just teaching them how to fish and plant taro but also about why these things are important. We want to integrate these kinds of activities into schools as part of cultural learning that will keep our Cook Islands way of life alive,” said Rongo.
Chair of Manava Ora o te Ivi Maori, Jackie Tuara said: “It has been a great opportunity to bring our kids together and show them our culture and our traditions so that they don’t disappear.”
She said the most interesting thing about the programme is that many of these children haven’t actually done any of these activities before.
She added: “We want parents to encourage these activities in the home and the wider community.”