Enrolments in Korero o te Orau school holiday programme more than doubled to 165 this year, as families flock to learn about where they and the Cook Islands Maori culture comes from.
Jackie Rongo, one of the organisers, says it shows how much the vision is resonating with parents, and that there is a real need for the project.
The project is shared between the vakas, beginning in Te Au O Tonga, then Takitumu, with Puaikura now hosting this week’s five-day programme, finishing today
Parents are happy, their kids are into bed promptly, happily tired from the day’s activities, up early in the morning, ready and waiting for the bus at 7am, Rongo says.
It has been amazing the way the Puaikura community, includingKeu Mataroa, Dan Apii, and Simona Teiotu, have come on board to lend a hand, she says.
Each morning the raising of the flag is conducted, “to teach kids the ideals of patriotism and pride,” says Rongo.
Activities include planting a taro patch, reef exploring and fishing, identifying plants and their use, cooking, preparing an umu, catching chickens, singing hymns, rope making, Maori medicine demonstrations.
Ten-year-old Lionel Charlie is excited to be taking part in the programme.
“It’s good to learn new things. We have been husking coconuts, grating, cooking, and making things out of kikau leaves, its good fun and I really like it.”
Charlie is not looking forward to returning to school on Monday, and is looking forward to the next Korero o te Orau, for the next holiday break.
Children return to school on Monday for the last term.