From Penrhyn with love – stories of life on the island

Saturday September 19, 2020 Written by Published in Outer Islands
From Penrhyn with love – stories of life on the island

Penrhyn’s Omoka School students wrote stories to celebrate the Ministry of Education’s Literacy Week. School principal Napa Sonny said the students presented their pieces of writing to the school last week.

Sonny was pleased with their efforts. The following are emotional  and inspiring stories as well as a poem written by students Melina Tapaitau, Hauroaarii Tonitara, Sonny Mariri, Marangi Taime and Maroi Tangomai Roumanu.


by Melina Tapaitau Year 9

Many things start off as nothing. Things that never existed. For example, a seed; it only starts off as a little seed, but then transforms into something very beautiful. That’s the way I thought, believing such a phrase like that, but it was ending very painfully.

It was yet another normal school day. I was happy to leave home, such a devastating place, but also sad to leave my comfort zone. I was taking my normal route to doom, a place I never liked and never will. I am a normal teenage school girl.

School was doom because I was being bullied and teased. Normal things, that’ve been a part of my life since I could remember. Today I got blamed by my fellow classmates, again, for something I never did. My teacher’s voice seemed foreign to me, as her lectures always seemed like small whispers, fading away.

Many bruises have covered my body, in places that could not be seen. These from people who hated me, both young and old, my parents too. And here, I’m walking home from yet another stressful day, with afternoon and night to follow.

I’m now in a dark place, and I can’t get out.  I’m stuck here for eternity.  I’m living in hell where I get bullied, teased, pushed around, and judged for the person I am. The people around me hate me. They don’t want me. I’m lonely.  I’m stuck in this place. I’m wanting to get out, but can’t. I have nothing. I’m lonely and never comfortable. The world around me is getting smaller, smaller, until I can’t see it anymore. I have nowhere to go. I’m stuck in this place called hell. The sounds, I try to keep them out, the screaming, the voices, voices.  I try to keep it all out. The words that I hear keep echoing deep inside my thoughts.

My memories are all sad, angry, tortured. There is no happiness in my memories. It’s so cold in here. I feel as if all I can do is to stand, not move.

This place I’m in has so many rules. I get tortured, hit, and beaten up, every day. The people here hate me. I’m ordered around. There’s no word such as rest, in this place.  I’m sitting in my own tears, a pool of tears, that has been filled with my crying, my sadness. Anger, hatred, and lies, are words that are always flying above me. This place is terrifying!

There’s no place in this cell of mine to feel safe, warm, secure. Happiness, truth, fun, are words that don’t exist in this place. I’m imprisoned, not allowed to leave, if I leave my life ends. I have nothing, and own nothing. I have nobody to comfort me. I get punished if I don’t finish the orders (as they call it) given to me. I’m always sad, I can never be happy. I’m always alone. Everything I touch breaks apart. Everyone I meet hates me, and judges me for who I am.

Coming Back to Tongareva

by Maroi Tangomai Roumanu Year 8

I lived in Rarotonga for the last 11 years with my family. We had come to Tongareva when I was 5. We stayed at Tongareva for a year.  It was very fun for me and my sisters. We loved to go swimming, and I would cycle on my bike almost everywhere. We left Tongareva when I was 7, but what I didn’t know was how much I was going to miss being here. 

My mama felt as if she was being called back to Tongareva, and she really wanted to come back here. She said it’s her homeland paradise. I wanted to come too, because I thought it would be the same as last time. I pleaded several times with my mum to let me go with my mama. She always answered with the same thing, ‘I’ll think about it’.

When the time came near, and my mama’s flight was due my papa decided to tag along with my mama and I. I asked my dad if he was fine with me going.  He said, ‘I’m happy, as long you’re happy’.” But my mum was a different story. She said that my new school was more important. I didn’t give up, because I wanted to experience living here again, just like when I was little.

I was lucky my mama had made it clear to everyone that she was leaving, so my mum said, yes. I was so overjoyed and excited. I began to count the days I had left on Raro. When my family realised it was official, they began to take me out to visit other places like the movies, restaurants, and parks. We had a fun time together.

The day we left was a sad emotional day, saying goodbye to my mum, dad and siblings. As I stepped onto the plane the cold air con rushed through my skin. The plane took off swiftly. Soon enough we were in the clouds. It was magnificent! The sun made the clouds glow as if we were floating in pixie dust. We had arrived above the island (descending), and I could see green and different shades of blue. I could see the airstrip, and then, the plane had landed.

As I stepped off the plane, I felt the cold air vanish.  Flies were attacking me. We walked over to the building, the shelter where we were greeted by family and friends. We sat on the forms. The Papa Orometua (Pastor) said a prayer for those who had arrived, and for those who were leaving the island. 

I really love the environment. The roads are white because of the island’s corals. There are no mountains on the island. The houses are old but nice. Some of them have been here for so long. 

One of my struggles has been adapting to the food here, my appetite has changed a lot. Usually in Raro I’d eat mostly junk food like take outs, and fast food. But now, the foods here are fish, rice and processed foods. I’m proud to be here on my mum and mama’s homeland, and I look forward to visiting my dad’s homeland, which is Pukapuka.

Hakonoanga me tae mai te manuhiri ki runga i to matou henua Tongareva

by Marangi Taime Year 8

I runga i to matou henua me tae mai te au manuhiri. Ka haere atu te hiti tangata . Ka haere atu te hiti tangata to hanga pahirere.  Teia te au akanohonohoanga me tae mai te manuhiri. Ka kave atu te tau, no te akaharaveianga me kore no te turou hanga atu ia ratou ki runga I te henua.  Ka kave atu ratou ka akanoho ki runga i te nohoanga. Ka rave atu te Orometua i tei hakonoanga pure.  Me oti te hakonoanga pure kua kave hia atu te au manuhiri ki te ngahi i hakonohia no te harikiriki anga atu ia ratou ki runga i te kaingakai.  I muri ake i te kaikai hanga kua akonohia atu ratou ki runga  ite au nohoanga, kua rave hia kua atu tetai hakonoanga puroku mei te, aka pare atu ia ratou, te aka sei atu ia ratou ki te sei pukuhatu, te moenga rauhara e te vai atura teau mea tukeke. Me oti ratou i te puroku hia, kua horonga hia atu tetai tuatau no te au manuhiri, tei tu i te manako. I te hopenga akahou atu te Orometua I te hakonoanga pure no te akaoti hanga.


by Hauroaarii Tonitara Year 8

Friends are like flowers

They help us bloom

They bring colour to our lives, every single day.

They brighten our world, they bring love and care

In their own unique ways.

Nothing will ever separate us from being together,

I will love and cherish our memories forever and ever.

Although a friend isn’t required in a high position

A friendship can be maintained, even from a distance.

A friendship between You and Me,

It could last for a lifetime to see.

Nothing to tell, because you understand me so well

Nothing to resort to, but you could get the thought

It’s lucky for people who find true friends in life.

Lucky for those who are willingly to strive

A friendship will carve a new chapter in your life

True friendship does not require a stamp of approval

You and I will stay

With this friendship that will never break

So, come what may!

Both male and female…

Whatever may be waiting for us in the future

Nothing could ever pull us apart

You two will always have a special place in my heart.

Control Your Temper

by Hauroaarii Tonitara Year 8.

There once was a little boy who had a very bad temper. His father decided to hang up a bag of nails, and said that every time the boy misbehaved or lost his temper, he had to hammer a nail into the fence.

On the first day the boy hammered 37 nails into the fence.  The boy gradually began to control his temper, and over the next few weeks the number of nails slowly decreased.  He discovered that it was easier to control his temper than to hammer those nails. Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father the news, and the father suggested that he should now pull out a nail one day at a time. The boy kept his temper and his anger under control.

The days passed, and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son carefully by the hand, and led him to the fence. The father said, “You have done well my son, but look at the holes in the fence, the fence will never be the same.”

“When you say things in anger, they leave a scar, just like those nails. You can put a knife into a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say, I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

At the end of the day, the boy had learnt that it’s better to respect others, because whatever happens in the future, it could cause or leave a scar. A scar from the past.

Lesson of the story: Control your temper. Don’t say things to people in the heat of the moment. You may later regret that in the future. Some things in life, are just unable to be taken back.

I want others to understand and relate to this, especially as you’re still learning. Spread positivity into the world instead of filling it with negativity.

Leave a comment