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Pupils keen to learn cemetery history

Thursday August 18, 2016 Written by Published in Local
Students and teachers from Apii Te Uki Ou pose for a group photo during their visit to the RSA cemetery yesterday. 16081705 Students and teachers from Apii Te Uki Ou pose for a group photo during their visit to the RSA cemetery yesterday. 16081705

FIFTY STUDENTS from Apii Te Uki Ou learned about the importance of the Nikao cemetery next to the Cook Islands Returned Service Association, when they visited the site on Tuesday. And the group, made up 25 students from grade two and 23 students from grade four learned plenty from their visit.


Ministry of Culture and Save the Nikao Cemetery restoration team member Paula Paniani said she was glad to have the opportunity to share information about those who were buried at the historic site.

“The cemetery is filled with history and it felt really good seeing pupils as young as grade two so keen to learn and know more about the people who were buried there.

“The RSA cemetery is full of untold stories of the experiences our forefathers went through during World War One.

“We have 14 headstones belonging to war veterans who are buried on the site. Unfortunately, two are without graves, and that could be because they got washed away towards the ocean, as one headstone was found by the beach and the other on the shoreline bank.”.

Apii Te Uki Ou Year Two teacher Janine Fiebig said the visit was a perfect opportunity for the students to learn more about the country’s history.

“Our topic was actually based on the Olympic Games and we were discussing more about the games with the students.

“The Olympic Games were not staged during the time of the two world wars and we linked that to the RSA cemetery and the veterans who have passed on and are buried there.

The visited had prompted plenty of questions from the students and spurred by the publicity about the cemetery’s upkeep on social media, the teachers had decided to pay the cemetery a visit, she said.

The school will be holding a fundraising drive next Friday, a “Crazy Hair Day,” where the male teachers will hold auctions in order to reach fundraising targets to shave their hair. All money raised will go towards the cemetery restoration project to help with a beautification scheme. Paniani said she was prepared to host any schools that wished to visit the Nikao and RSA cemetery.

“Our young generations will carry our history with them to the future. We must share with them these historical stories so they are sustained for our future generation’s knowledge”.