Teacher Teokotai Tarai, who previously spent time teaching at Tereora College, has brought 28 of her students to Rarotonga before heading to Mangaia and Aitutaki to conclude their tour.
Tarai said the best way for her students to learn Cook Islands Maori was to come here in person.
“I believe the best way for our children to learn the language is to be immersed in it, so these are my Year 9 -13 Cook Islands Maori students.
“Unfortunately the context at home doesn’t allow them to practice as much so we are here to connect with our homeland and that is why we are also heading to Mangaia and Aitutaki as that is where most of these students have roots.”
Seeing the language in the local community is important for her students, Tarai said.
“We only have one student who can speak the language fluently, the rest can understand it but being here and learning the language in this context, it helps them to understand the way we live here on the island, to help them to learn to further love their culture and be passionate about it.
“Ultimately these students are going to be our next generation of language speakers back home, so they need to be able to continue that back home.
“We always joke that we in Tokoroa are the 16th island of the Cook Islands and being able to step out of our own bubble and see what communities are doing to revitalise our language and culture is awesome.”
The group were given a tour of Tereora College on Thursday by deputy principal Boaz Raela and teacher Elizabeth Bishop to help show them what a local Cook Island school is like.
Raela was given thanks for his time, by receiving a performance by the group of their school haka at the end of their tour.