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Atiu girl’s dreams take flight with educational support from TAKA

Saturday 25 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Economy, Local, National, Outer Islands


Atiu girl’s dreams take flight with educational support from TAKA
The TAKA (Tamariki Api’i Kūki ʻĀirani) Educational Trust presented a laptop to Atiu student Tearoa Windy at Atiu airport on Thursday. From left: Nana Roberts (school teacher), Teremoana Windy (Atiu Island deputy mayor), Teariki Maurangi - chairman Atiu School PTA, Chiavanni Le’Mon, Captain Mario Caffery and Teinakore Windy. MELINA ETCHES/ 24052401

Recognising the pivotal role of technology in shaping the modern-day learning landscape, the Tamariki Api’i Kūki ʻĀirani – TAKA Educational Trust – has stepped in offering an Atiu student access to a wealth of educational resources.

The TAKA Trust, the first of its kind in the country, is dedicated to supporting the continued education of resident disadvantaged students (of any age) anywhere in the Cook Islands.

Tearoa Windy is a Year 11 student at Atiu School and the first TAKA Trust recipient. The trust sponsored a laptop to support her educational journey.

On receiving her personal computer that was handed to her at Atiu Airport this week, Windy was filled with gratitude and excitement.

“I felt so happy, this laptop will help me improve my studies,” she said.

“Te rauka atu nei iaku i te akameitaki ia kotou te TAKA Trust no te oko mai taku laptop, thank you.”

Windy’s favourite subjects are Science, Maths, and Mori.

She aspires to be a nurse, but also isn't ruling out a career as a doctor.

Born in Australia, Windy was raised in Atiu from the age of three months by her maternal grandparents Teinakore and Teremoana Windy (Atiu Island deputy mayor).

Her grandparents are proud of Windy’s successful TAKA Trust application and are extremely thankful for their support.

Syaka Tairi, principal of Atiu School, said: “We are very grateful for the help given to Tearoa by TAKA.”

“Her laptop will assist with her assignments, emails, and online research.”

Teariki Maurangi, chairman of the Atiu School Parents Teachers Association, said he was “humbled” by the support from TAKA and that the committee is appreciative.

The exceptional presentation took place during an Air Rarotonga stopover to the island flown by Captain Mario Caffery, founder and chairman of TAKA Educational Trust.

Caffery and TAKA treasurer Chiavanni Le’Mon both had the pleasure of presenting the laptop to Windy on behalf of the foundation.

A proud Cook Islander, Caffery is passionate about helping resident Cook Islanders who are financially or socially disadvantaged and want to further or complete their education, qualifications, or trade skills – this encompasses early childhood to adult learning.

“We are very excited to get to this stage to present your equipment to help you with your Level NCEA Level 1 and 2,” said Caffery.

“My dream is to keep people where they are most comfortable… if you are happy to continue studying on your island, stay in your environment, be happy at home, you can learn online and so forth.”

Flying for Air Rarotonga, Caffery has the opportunity to travel around the Pa Enua.

Caffery’s inspiration for the project started with Hilary Tiro, the daughter of a dear sincere friend Billy Tiro from Pukapuka who welcomed and hosted Air Raro pilots until his passing in December 2013.

In 2019, during one of Caffery’s trips to Pukapuka, he returned with Hilary who wanted to attend school in Rarotonga.

He is saddened to see firsthand the large number of people leaving their beloved home islands to move overseas to study or work hoping for a better life – one of the driving factors of the TAKA project.

“They leave because they must, not because they want to.”

Faced with this dilemma he felt a moral imperative to create opportunities for resident Cook Islanders who want to complete their education or qualifications at home.

Caffery also believes there is no reason that any child should miss out on an education or go to school hungry and that there should not be an incomplete qualification for adults.

Leading TAKA are its passionate board members Mario Caffery – chairman and founder, Chiavanni Le’Mon – treasurer, Antony Will - legal advisor, Mata Rakanui – secretary administration, and Halatoa Fua – communications.

The trust offers support for study fees – to cover tuition and school fees, living support – to cover support for disadvantaged families or children, school materials – to cover any materials or equipment critical for the children’s learning, and contribution in kind - handover of any contribution in kind from our sponsors to the children.

The support is purely based on donations from sponsors – both monetary and non-monetary.