Helping make children’s dreams come true

Wednesday August 26, 2020 Written by Published in Education
Reihana Koteka-Wiki Miss Cook Islands 2018-2019 with a copy of Dream Journal. 20082517 Reihana Koteka-Wiki Miss Cook Islands 2018-2019 with a copy of Dream Journal. 20082517

A year and a half ago, former Miss Cook Islands Reihana Koteka-Wiki started planning a project. She called it her “Dream Journal” or “Te Puka Orama”.

Yesterday, Koteka-Wiki, who won the national beauty pageant in 2018, handed over the completed Dream Journals to the Ministry of Education.

She said the purpose of the project was to create a locally designed children’s book with colouring pages of images related to the Cook Islands. 

The journal section is where children can express themselves and write about memories and events that make them feel good about themselves.

Koteka-Wiki, who completed her degree at Auckland University in 2015 majoring in Psychology, says her focus during her reign as Miss Cook Islands was mental health and wellness.

“It was fulfilling to be able to bring this project to life, as it’s an area in our community very dear to my heart.”

Koteka-Wiki has founded her own mental wellness charity, Toku Reo, and is also the mental health ambassador of Cook Islands National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

She has been working with UNESCO to create Dream Journals that will be distributed to all Cook Islands students aged eight-12 years.

The Ministry of Education will be handling the distribution of these books to all schools.

Atiu’s Apii Enuamanu children with copies of Dream Journal. 20082514 / 20082515 / 20082516

Koteka-Wiki said the intention was to have the first set of books ready for distribution earlier in the year, however, due to Covid-19, they experienced several delays in printing.

The books are finally ready for delivery, she added. Distribution of the Dream Journal will commence in time for Literacy Week which is scheduled from Monday September 7 to Friday September 11.

Koteka-Wiki says it is important to introduce different mindfulness and coping habits at a young age.

“It is also important to give children resources so they can slow down to focus and understand their emotions and feelings, notice the positives around them, and develop a sense of appreciation, gratitude and contentment.

“I really wanted to highlight this in this resource. So, while there are so many ways in which mindfulness can be practised, this particular resource promotes two specific tools: colouring/art and journaling.

“I felt it was a great way to celebrate our local talent, and felt it would be more meaningful for our young children. I wanted them to feel special and to know that each page was designed for our tamariki Kuki Airani.”

Koteka-Wiki acknowledged the National Commission to UNESCO, the Education Ministry and Miriama Arnold, Johnny (Thartist) Higgins, Nat Aitau, Ciara Sana and Hinano Wearing Iorva for creating the colouring pages.                

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