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Penrhyn/Tongareva celebrates first tertiary graduates

Wednesday 1 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National, Outer Islands

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Penrhyn/Tongareva celebrates first tertiary graduates
Tongareva/Penrhyn’s first Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute (CITTI) graduation ceremony was held earlier last month. APII NAPA/24042925

In a historic celebration for Penrhyn/Tongareva Island, the community came together to witness their first-ever graduates from a tertiary programme.

Proud families and the Island Government attended the small ceremony for the six students Tini Ford Junior, Ngereteina George, Natt Joseph, Paterongo Maretapu, Victor Niukore, and Apera Williams who graduated with a New Zealand Certificate in Building, Construction, and Allied Trades Skills (Level 3).

Apii Napa, principal of Penrhyn’s Omoka and Tetautua schools and coordinator for the course, said: “This graduation is a first for Tongareva and it is also the first cohort for this course organised by the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute (CITTI).”

Napa said the students enrolled in the course last year for the first time, and this would not be their last.

She highlighted the students’ dedication and commitment to learning and developing skills and contributing to the community.

Following the ceremony there was more interest for another cohort for this course, Napa said.

“Pursuing higher education is paving the way for future generations in Tongareva,” said Napa, who is happy to do her part in serving people in the Pa Enua, particularly in Penrhyn where she has heritage.

“I’m always supportive of learning opportunities and will continue to do my best to assist in delivering these courses here to help upskill our people.”

The graduation was held at “Te Tahua o Tarakore” Omoka Cyclone Shelter earlier last month (April).

Students on Manihiki also enrolled in the same course for the first time last year and graduated.