Te Kura o Otangarei School heads to the Cook Islands
While in Aitutaki, the group were given a guided tour of the island, visiting the highest point on the main island, the local traditional meeting place, and many historic sites such as a recently excavated ancient marae, and the Tainui and Te Arawa marae sites. The students immersed themselves in the culture, visiting local high school Araura College, learning to weave coconut fronds, cook food in a traditional Umu, de-husk coconuts, and participate in traditional games such as spinning the coconut.
Swimming became part of the group's daily routine; snorkelling amongst Giant Trevally and tropical fish was one of the highlights of the trip. Captivated by the local sea life, students headed to the Marine Centre where they learned about reef conservation, and helped plant live coral.
The students have returned with new skills and knowledge, as well as memories and connections that will endure for years to come.
"A massive thank you to Air New Zealand and Airpoints for Schools for their unbelievable support and to all the wonderful people who donated their Airpoints Dollars. While we were glad to be home, I know that every one of us, every now and again, thinks wistfully of that beautiful island paradise of Aitutaki, wishing we could be there. One day… we are going back!" - Myles Ferris, Te Kura o Otangarei School principal.