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Small school, big dreams: Rutaki celebrates success at annual awards

Friday 15 December 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National

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Small school, big dreams: Rutaki  celebrates success  at annual awards
Apii Rutaki 2023 Excellence Awards: Baxter Sherman – 1st Runner-Up Dux, Faustina Samuela – Runner-Up Dux, and Ngatuaine Maoate – Dux. MELINA ETCHES/23121307

Apii Rutaki, the small school with a big heart out in the west, celebrated their school prize giving day with a vibrant occasion and a huge turnout of parents and family on Thursday.

Although the school roll number stands at 78, it enjoys strong support from its close-knit community and will commemorate its 60th year of educating primary school children next year.

Eleven-year-old Year 6 student Ngatuaine Maoate said she felt “very proud and excited” to be awarded the Dux of the Year trophy.

“I was so excited, because I really didn’t expect it,” Maoate said.

“Next year I’ll be going to Titikaveka College and I’m going to carry on working hard at my school work.”

Head boy Baxter Sherman delivered his farewell speech to the audience in Māori, and also received the 1st Runner-Up Dux award and Intermediate Boy Sports award.


Apii Rutaki 2023 ECE students put their hearts into singing Christmas carols at prize giving day. MELINA ETCHES/23121308

Lady Tuaine Marsters, an alumna of Apii Rutaki and passionate supporter, delivered the closing speech on behalf of the school's former students.

Marsters reminded everyone that next year’s 60-year diamond jubilee is around the corner and encouraged everyone to light up their trees with twinkling solar lights from the bridge in Betela to the bridge in Vaimaanga to mark this occasion.

Following the presentation of awards, the children and their families enjoyed a delicious meal together.

Apii Rutaki Awards List

ECE Award: 1st Taio Tiputoa, 2nd Angareu Samuel, 3rd Taliana Tukurangi, Most Improved - Richard Edward; Year 1 - 1st Lynserah Simpson, 2nd Rosianna Boller, 3rd Kiera Tairi Scott; Most Improved -  CJ Hosking; Year 2 - 1st Atea Denny, 2nd Isla Johnstone, 3rd Kowhai Cousins, Most Improved - David Etimone; Year 3 – 1st Ngamata Teama, 2nd Clarissa Totoia, 3rd Ngatokorua Arona, Most Improved - William Boller; Year 4 – 1st Moeroa Tataio, 2nd Patoa Denny, 3rd Loumaine Mokoha, Most Improved – Leilani Tamarangi.

Year 5: 1st Ahsin Tuiti, 2nd Maria Maoate, 3rd Kate Katuke, Most Improved - Jazeladi Andrew; Year 6 – 1st Ngatuaine Maoate, 2nd Baxter Sherman, 3rd Lilia Atuatika, Most Improved – Faustina Samuela, Best Mathematics Student – Ngatuaine Maoate, Best ICT Student - Faustina Samuela.

Excellence Awards: Dux – Ngatuaine Maoate, 1st Runner-Up - Baxter Sherman, Runner-Up – Faustina Samuela. Special Awards Sports Boy/Girl of the year: Junior Boy - Julius George, Junior Girl - Clarissa Totoia; Intermediate Boy - Baxter Sherman, Intermediate Girl - Ngatuaine Maoate; Best House Team - Are Rengarenga.

Special Needs: Junior - Erik Maeva and Junior Tangatapoto, Year 4 - Junior Kokoria; Best Health Class - Year 3 and Year 4; Prefect of the year - Baxter Sherman; Best Attendance - Ngamata Teama.