Manihiki’s Apii Ruamanu started the year with a roll of 41 pupils, and a staff made up entirely of women.
That theme continued in the student leadership this week: three prefects were named this week, and they are all girls. This week, the entire community attended a wonderful investiture in their honour.
The Apii Ruamanu prefects are Teremoana Tere Zicillya Tepano and Jumaney Samuel.
One of the staff is young Rosalina Tuatoru, who was a student but has now taken on the role of inclusive education teacher aide. She replaced Anthony Kaina who is now on Rarotonga, participating in the teachers’ concurrent programme at the Ministry of Education.
Across the lagoon at Apii Tukao, principal Apii Napa says their students were selected according to the way they carried out responsibilities in school without being told to.
“It is a skill we are practising to reflect what the school’s values are; respect, honesty and integrity.
“They all agree that being selected is an honour from their peers and that being selected is a step into the door to one day lead like Prime Minister Papa Enere.”
Apii Tukao’s prefects are Henare Charlie, Helina Williams and Maria Pokipoki.
“My role is to guide and support them in their roles, through training and fortnightly meetings with them,” Napa says.
“To be able to in still in them the capabilities of them taking lead in and out of school. To see the role as not only leading but most importantly, to serve,” she continued.
Her reference to Papa Enere, the prime minister Henry Puna, was meaningful. Puna is from Manihiki – and this week, both schools came together to welcome the Queen’s Representative and Prime Minister and their delegation to the island.
The festivities were joyful and the children were in awe watching the medal presentations of the Order of the British Empire Medal to Mama Vainepoto Makita, a former parent teacher association chairperson, a committee member for Apii Ruamanu, and still one of the school’s greatest supporters.
It was a joyous celebration and on Tuesday the young people of Manihiki witnessed the Medal Ceremony