Excitement filled the air as the school teachers and students celebrated the new learning environment.
Board of governors president Lucy McDonald said the school appreciated the generous funding given to build the “remarkable new” classrooms.
“I’d like to thank His Excellency Toshihisa Takata, Ambassador of Japan. Your generosity has provided our youngest learners with a wonderful new learning environment.
“The educated around the world are increasingly aware of the impact of the learning environment on teachers and their pupils.”
McDonald said Apii Te Uki Ou students were excited to be able to start their learning journey in the new classrooms.
Apii Te Uki Ou has grown from a tiny school which started in a garage 22 years ago to a fully-fledged school which now has nearly 200 students.
“We have earned a reputation for delivering much from little.
“Our dedicated teachers have a fraction of resources compared to schools in larger countries, yet children leave Apii Te Uki Ou with educational attainment which sees them move on to great careers worldwide,” McDonald said.
McDonald also emphasised on the school motto, “Akara Ki Mua” (learning for tomorrow).
“It is fitting that we can remember this as we open our new teaching spaces in which we will learn for tomorrow.”
“Our children have been inspired. We have patiently watched as the framing appeared, the walls went up and throughout this we have enjoyed the hustle and bustle of a new building taking place in our school.”
“Today we are at the start of a new beginning and I am excited to see the school so happy.”
Takata said he was overwhelmed by the warm welcome and hospitality from the people of the Cook Islands.
“It is my privilege and great honour to be here today on behalf of the government and people of Japan to officially hand over this project for the construction of Apii Te Uki Ou.
Japan provided $120,000 for the construction of new classrooms through the project.
This new school building is also available for community use and Takata said Japan was pleased to be able to continue with Apii Te Uki Ou to deliver fully inclusive education.
Apii Te Uki Ou principal Brendon Fiebig said the classrooms represented a new chapter in the school's new educational journey.
“As we continue to grow we are exploring new ways to attend to our student’s needs with the resources that we have available.
“Each classroom is a substantial and positive step forward in that regard and we thank you.”
Fiebig said given the geographical location and financial constraints, it could be easily misconstrued that the Cook Islands had limitations to fulfilling dreams in the education system.
“These classrooms represent what can be achieved by being proactive with hard work, team work and persistence and of course the generosity of the people of Japan.
The successful completion of this project involved contributions and input from many people and Fiebig extended a huge appreciation to all those involved including Eddie Drollett, Dave Furnell and Craig Bennett, John Short, Romani Katoa, Giovanni Marsters, and Alan Cowan.