The preschoolers were visiting the airport as part of the school’s “People Who Help Us” learning programme.
Split into three groups, the children were shown around three different areas of the airport: the Air Rarotonga aircraft hangar, the airport’s fire engines, and the main security area of the airport, complete with a trip through the baggage x-ray and metal detectors.
Air Rarotonga safety manager Dave Leeming got a good workout lifting each child up for a close look inside the engine of the airline’s latest acquisition – a Cessna Citation jet.
They all trooped inside to test out the aircraft’s seats too, although the offer of time in the cockpit was politely declined by Blackrock principal Stephanie Forbes. “I’d be worried that they’d push the wrong button,” she said. Senior fireman Tupou Faireka then schooled the children in the finer points of fire safety before taking them outside for a go on the fire-engine hoses.
Even though some of the children complained of being “hangry” (hungry+angry) at times, Forbes said they all enjoyed their special visit to the airport.
“Their favourite parts were ‘going inside the plane’ and ‘holding the hose at the fire engine’,” she said later after everyone was back at school.
This isn’t the end of the “People Who Help Us” programme at Blackrock – Forbes is hoping to have the Cook Islands Police Service bring a truck and a motorbike to the preschool as well, and perhaps also host a visit from some nurses.
Blackrock Apii Potiki sends out a “huge thanks” to Cooks Islands Buses, Air Rarotonga and Airport Security and Fire Safety for making the airport trip possible.