A media release issued by Cook Islands Investment Corporation said the shared vision was for the completed college to provide greater learning opportunities for Cook Islanders and become the benchmark for further secondary school developments in the country.
Preliminary designs for the New Zealand funded Stage 1 buildings are expected to be complete by March this year.
This introductory work follows on from New Zealand’s pledge by New Zealandn Prime Minister John Key of up to $11.7 million to complete Stage 1 of the college redevelopment.
The pledge was made on August 4 last year during the Cook Islands celebration of 50 years of independence in free association with New Zealand. Since then, a Grant Funding Arrangement (GFA) between governments has been developed and signed.
At the signing ceremony on November 5, New Zealand High Commissioner Nick Hurley described the vision for the new infrastructure as one that will be transformational and give a real boost to educational outcomes.
In February 2016 the Cook Islands Government will present a draft 10-year strategic plan for the entire redevelopment to various stakeholders including past and current students, teachers, parents, and the community at large.
Once consultation has been completed, the plan will be used to inform the college’s infrastructure needs for the next 50 years.
Full redevelopment of the college will cost an estimated $40 million and will fill the need for flexible learning environments, the high cost of maintaining the current buildings, deficiencies in site and services, evolving learning and teaching practises and the growth in student roll numbers.
The new college is being designed to accommodate 750 students, 50 teachers and 10 support staff; draw on the heritage of the area; provide high quality, fit-for-purpose, and comfortable learning environments; and adapt to climate change.
A four-stage approach is being considered to complete the reconstruction project:
• Stage 1: Technology and Student Centre Administration, support services, library and student centre, technology centre.
• Stage 2: Academic Learning Languages and cultures, mathematics and statistics, sciences, social sciences and commerce.
• Stage 3: Performing Arts Centre Drama, dance, gallery, music and music history, visual arts, property supervisor workspace.
• Stage 4: Future Developments - to be confirmed.
Detailed designs for Stage 1 will begin when the Strategic Plan and preliminary designs are finalised. The construction contract will be tendered in mid-2016.
Stage 1 construction is scheduled to start in December 2016 and to be completed before the start of the 2018 academic year. - Release
Writer hits right chord with festive tune
Keeping in tune with the holiday season is traditional music master Jon Jonassen and his new Christmas and New Year hit, “Xmas Rarotonga Style.”
Talented songstress Tia Maree Prasad carried the smooth island notes from start to finish, and despite being a little camera-shy, she delivered like a pro.
‘Xmas Rarotonga Style’ is unlike any other Christmas jingle, it begins with a catchy “ute” followed by the sounds of Cook Islands drums setting the overall tempo of the song, then following through with meaningful Christmas lyrics both in English and Cook Islands Maori.
Jonassen says that the inspiration behind the song derived from his strong passion for Cook Islands music and the fact there were a limited amount of Cook Island’s Christmas and New Year songs on the market.
“I wanted to write a song that captured our own culture and in the spirit of ‘Kia Orana’,” says Jonassen.
The ‘Xmas Rarotonga Style’ song is part of a new 14-track album which is still in the production process.
“We have found it a bit difficult to complete the album due to our very busy schedules; however we thought it would be appropriate to release our Christmas song this festive season with the rest scheduled for completion in mid-2016.”
Jonassen says that it just happened to be released during the year our nation celebrated its 50th anniversary of self-governance. With many to thank for their contribution to the song, Jonassen would like to extend a meitaki maata to local musician, or who some would call the “Jimmy Hendrix” of the Cook Islands, Bobby Browne, in association with the Cook Islands Music Association for recording the song.
Also to the beautiful talent Tia Maree Prasad for making the song come to life with a flawless melody and to Pera Media for the video clip footage and creative production.
The members of the Cook Islands Music Association would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.
- Sharna Matapuku