Chairman of the USP Cook Islands campus Pastor Tevai Matapo travelled to Manihiki to participate in the event, presenting the graduates with their credentials on Thursday 8th November.
The occasion was well attended and prepared for by both islands, and graduates were covered with an abundance of fresh flower ei.
For the last four years, Anna Rauru principal of Ruamanu School of Manihiki has observed the community’s increasing use of new technologies to access university studies.
She described the challenges each student faced to complete their studies in a written piece titled, “Earning Journeys Across the Manihiki Lagoon”.
She wrote that the trials that students experienced included: “the challenges of geographical remoteness; the cost of course fees; good and bad days with the internet and travelling across the lagoon for tutorials and group discussions.”
“Traveling across the lagoon to meet fellow students for tutorials or group discussions became a key part of distance studies in Manihiki.”
“In good weather, the majestic scenery of the lagoon, fringed with swaying coconut trees made the crossing from Tauhunu to Tukao and vice-versa a highlight of our study programmes.”
However, during bad weather it could be frightening as the boat trips would be rough and uncomfortable; passengers would have to huddle under the boats canopy to keep themselves dry, she wrote.
“Always in our thoughts is the hope that the knowledge, skills and dispositions acquired by our teachers as a result of these learning journeys will lead the way to increase our student’s achievements in our Manihiki schools and in the wider community.”
“Despite these trials, teachers from both Ruamanu and Tukao Schools achieved well in their USP studies.
“None of this would be possible without the awesome support and services provided by the USP Cook Islands campus and the Ministry of Education for in- country scholarship funding.”
Rauru successfully completed three courses, finalising a BA in Language and Literature/History and Politics.
Those who graduated are:
Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Level III): Winnie Tereapii Williams and Maggie Yvette Purea-Taripo from Rakahanga; Postgraduate Diploma in Education: Ngatokorua Akemata Taio and Tereapii (Apii) Rasmussen Napa; Bachelor of Arts: Anna Marie Taraia Rauru; Diploma in Accounting Studies: Mehau Tamahine Johnson.
Past graduates (alumni) were also invited to join the procession:Ngere George graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and is working towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Marine Science). Nikita Karaponga graduated in 2014 with a Certificate in Early Childhood Education.
The official graduations are presided over by the Chancellor or vice-chancellor of the USP. Officially, the students graduated on October 24 2018.
Congratulations to all the graduates and meitaki korekareka to Tukao school principal Apii Napa and Ruamanu school principal Anna Rauru for the photographs and written excerpts.