Cel­e­brat­ing the Cook Is­lands

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Cook Is­lands Maori was cel­e­brated with danc­ing and drum­ming at Aotea Col­lege last Wed­nes­day.

Stu­dents and their fam­i­lies from Aotea and Porirua col­leges gath­ered to mark the sec­ond an­nual Te Epetoma o te Reo Maori Kuki Ai­rani.

Cook Is­lands high com­mis­sioner Tekaotiki Mat­apo was the guest of hon­our at the cel­e­bra­tion and, like prin­ci­pals of both col­leges, he was en­cour­aged on to the dance floor on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, to the sound of Porirua Col­lege’s drum en­sem­ble.

‘‘This morn­ing I’m re­ally priv­i­leged and hon­oured to be here. It was re­ally warm and touch­ing for me,’’ he told a crowd of 200 gath­ered in the col­lege hall.

‘‘Lan­guage is the legacy of our an­ces­tors.’’

Aotea Col­lege prin­ci­pal Kate Gains­ford praised the lan­guage skills of her stu­dents.

‘‘ You can’t sep­a­rate the val­ues you’ve been taught from the lan­guage you’ve been taught,’’ she said.

‘‘ We’re cel­e­brat­ing the im­por­tance of be­ing con­nected to your fam­i­lies, to your cul­ture, to your com­mu­nity and your school. Those con­nec­tions stay strong for life.’’

Porirua Col­lege was the only high school in the lower North Is­land to teach Cook Is­lands Maori, de­spite a lack of sup­port from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, its prin­ci­pal Suzanne Jungersen said.

‘‘We’re sup­port­ing the reo prac­ti­cally and ac­tu­ally.’’

Fin­ish­ing flour­ish: Aotea Col­lege year 11 stu­dent Ti­papa Bracken danced back to her seat af­ter giv­ing a speech about her cul­ture.

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