This week Highland Paradise Culture Centre hosted its 4th interschool cultural competition with more than 100 students taking part in the full day cultural competition at the Puaikura mountain top site.
Five primary schools entered this year’s competition – Avarua, Nikao/Avatea, Te Uki Ou, Papaaroa and Arorangi.
Five traditional categories were contested in the competition including creating the traditional umu earth oven, weaving, storytelling based on a historical and cultural content in the Maori language, drumming and ute chanting.
Highland Paradise Cultural Centre managing director Teuira (Tutu) Pirangi says the day was a joyful and educational occasion for all students that took part.
In congratulating all the schools for being part of this cultural education experience, Pirangi encourages other schools who may not have been part of this to enter next year.
“We will continue to encourage more schools to enter each year because this competition is an important annual cultural event for all our children,” says Pirangi.
Pirangi would like to thank all the teachers and parents for seeing the value in this significant annual cultural event.
Pirangi would also like to say a special meitaki to competition judges Henry Taripo, Mata George and Frances, the master of ceremonies Danny Mataroa and to sponsors Prime Foods, Rangi & Matatua Taru, and other supporters.
“Highland Paradise is an important historical and cultural site in the Cook Islands that is dedicated to the survival and the development of authentic Cook Islands culture,” says Pirangi.
“This development must come through our children and their enthusiasm and pride in our unique past.”
After a day of umu preparations, weaving and songs – Apii Te Uki Ou were awarded the overall winner’s trophy for the 2015 competition.
Judges awarded Apii Te Uki Ou school with the best umu, best weaving, best drumming and best ute while Avarua School won the storytelling category.
Past overall winners have been Arorangi School in 2012 and 2013 and Avarua School in 2014.
No doubt Apii Te Uki Ou parents can look forward to an umukai this weekend by their winning tamariki.