Principal Mark Harris, who was a teacher at Te Uki Ou last year, said he felt like there was a “new energy” in the air and was looking forward to officially welcoming the school’s new teachers and students.
“We’ve just been kind of sprucing things up a little bit,” he said. “We’ve added a few extra colours, got rid of all the things we don’t need, all the paper that was lying around – just to make it less cluttered so we can start afresh.”
Harris also made special mention of two returning Cook Islanders who have joined the school’s teaching staff.
“It’s always nice to get teachers who have a connection, that know the language, know the people,” says Harris. “It makes a massive difference when you’re teaching kids – knowing where they come from and knowing who their families are as well.”
Parent Tarina Moorfield, herself a recently returned Cook Islander, has two boys aged eight and 11 who have just started at Te Uki Ou.
She said it was “talking to people in the community and in the villages” that convinced her the popular school would be best for her children.
New student Cole Bamber wasn’t so sure about making a fresh start at Te Uki Ou however – but his early-morning nerves soon disappeared.
“I was worried, but now I’m not. I’m looking forward to all the activities that we’re going to do. Because I haven’t even had lunch yet, so I want to see what this school looks like.”