That’s according to Miss Cook Islands 2018, Reihana Koteka-Wiki, who is in the process of organising the production of a locally designed colouring book and is seeking artists to submit Cook Islands and Polynesian art designs that can be coloured in. This is part of a project for her mental wellness foundation, Toku Reo.
She said: “We need a Cook Islands colouring book! It’s a great way to celebrate our local art, promote the incredibly talented artists that we have here and connect with our young people.
“I’m looking for art themes that Cook Islanders can relate to and feel close to: the ocean, marine life, animals, our land, our people, instruments, dancers, tiare flowers, tattoo designs. These are so much a part of who we are, I would love to include pieces that depict these themes.
“Artists who submit work will have their names printed on their pages and full recognition mentioned in the credit section for sharing their talent and generosity for a great cause.
“The aim for this project is to promote positive mind-sets in our youth. Colouring books have been something that we have all grown up with and it’s an activity, which even as adults, I think we can all appreciate.
“Colouring is widely recognised as a valuable mental wellness resource for both adults and children. Studies have shown that colouring has positive effects on stress and anxiety levels as well as inspiring creativity and focus. A simple activity such as colouring allows us to focus our brain toward a single task. In doing so, it can provide a ‘calming effect’.”
She is passionate about helping Cook Islanders and is a strong advocate for promoting mental health and wellness.
She graduated with a degree in Psychology and Minor in Pacific Studies from Auckland University, she is now the mental health ambassador for the National Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
She presented her mental wellness initiatives to the Miss World panel, which gained her a finalist position in the beauty-with-a-purpose category and since returning from Miss World, she has continued to focus her efforts toward mental wellness.
“It’s important that we teach our youth the importance of looking out for their mental well-being.”
She said she is aiming to release the colouring book sometime in the middle of the year.
“We are currently at the early stages of production. This week we sent out an open call for art submissions and the response has been incredible. We have already begun receiving so many awesome creations from artists.
“I will be collecting art submissions over the next 4-6 weeks. I have set an initially goal of collecting 60 pieces.”
She said she is also in search of anyone who would like to sponsor the project.