School reunion ends with a bang

Saturday 21 February 2015 | Published in Education


School reunion ends with a bang

Celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of Arorangi School ended with a bang on Thursday night.

The seven-day event finished in fine style, with a spectacular fireworks show lighting up the lagoon beside the school and thrilling the crowd watching from the lawn.

Organising committee treasurer Doreen Kavana Boggs described the week as highly successful and said there had been some excellent feedback from guests.

However, the number of former pupils visiting from other countries had been lower than expected, as it seemed many New Zealand and Australian-based Cook Islanders were saving to come to Rarotonga in July for celebrations marking the nation’s 50th year of self-government.

“That time also coincides with the school holidays so their kids will be on a break too. It looks like a lot of people are waiting for that.

“But really, the reunion went really well and the committee were very happy with it. We even buried a time capsule which will be really interesting for people to look at during the next reunion in 25 years’ time.”

Kavana Boggs says many happy memories were shared at the event, with former teachers and students swapping plenty of stories and laughs.

“Some even remembered the air raid drills at the school during World War Two, when a siren was sounded and all the pupils had to run out of the school to a place where they could shelter.”

The reunion committee also had some airtime with Radio Cook Islands on Thursday for a talkback session, with many listeners taking the opportunity to share memories of their time at Arorangi School.

One former staff member who was remembered as particularly outstanding was Mama Tapu Andrew, who retired as a teacher in the 1990s after spending many decades working at the school and still lives in Arorangi, says Kavana Boggs.

“We are now looking at putting together a book so that we can share all these memories with others.”

Mama Andrew shared some old photos of former school pupils and teachers, some of them believed to date back to the 1940s. Three of the photos feature on this page, and Kavana Boggs is hoping they may spark memories among some long-time Rarotonga residents.

“It would be good to get the names of as many of the people in the photos as we can.”

If you can help, email CINews at or phone Doreen Kavana Boggs on 55583.