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Thursday 28 October 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Local, National


Students get creative with designs
Year 7 and 8 students from Apii Te Uki standing proudly with their T-shirt designs alongside ambassador for Marae Moana Kevin Iro - 21102501

Year seven and eight students at Apii Te Uki Ou have been given the opportunity to become potential designers of the new Marae Moana Outreach programme uniforms.

The students were visited by the team from Marae Moana and were able to hear about what Marae Moana stands for, then use that information as inspiration for the uniform designs.

Ambassador for Marae Moana Kevin Iro, went along with co-ordinators Lucile Meyer, Tim Meyer and Kora Kora to support the cause.

The visit was a part of a seacology grant to create awareness on the marine park, starting with the country’s school children.

Iro said the initial meeting went well.

“They responded very well.

“For the past five years or so there has been a lot of teaching in schools about the environment, so they were fully aware of the importance of the ocean, what it means to Cook Islanders, and what it means to be caretakers and guardians of the ocean.”

Iro spoke on the fact that as Cook Islanders it is often not recognised and acknowledged how large our country is.

“We see ourselves as small islands which we are, but when we look at the entire scope of the country including our ocean, we are larger than many countries.

“We need to bring home the message to the kids about our vast ocean space, and the need to educate ourselves on what's there and how to look after it for future generations,” he said.

He also spoke on the effectiveness of the raui systems and the future aim to apply that system out in the ocean, once they have the right research to do so.

Students were lastly encouraged, despite their young age, to start thinking about careers that would help their country find out more about its ocean space, and how to manage and protect it.

The students each drew their own T-shirt designs which have since then been posted on to the Marae Moana Facebook page.

The designs are available to be voted on by the public, with the design with the most votes, set to be the official Marae Moana Outreach Project uniform.

Azaliya Wichman who is in year eight at Apii Te Uki Ou said; “My design is based on motifs from the Pacific, for example the waves in the ocean.

“Te noaru represents the ocean.

“Te Marae Moana means protection to the creatures in the sea and also to the beautiful coral and waters of the Pacific.

“Te Marae Moana is a very respectful place because of the role they play as the largest marine reserve in the Pacific.”

Athena Napa Nicholas shared that her design was based on how important the ocean is. “As Cook Islanders we rely on our lands and oceans to make a living.

“What Marae Moana means to me is how much I love the ocean, how important it is, and how the ocean deserves a chance to be cared for,” she said.

Tim Meyer, manager of MOTU Villas and member of the Marae Moana Outreach team said there are plenty of things in the pipeline regarding the outreach project.

With the aid of the House of Ariki, which the team visited earlier this month, they are trying to take the programme to the Pa Enua.

A workshop is being designed with one of the schools in Aitutaki, as well as an educational guide to Marae Moana, which will include a locally designed poster.

“Our mission is to get the next generation to actively engage with Marae Moana through educational projects,” he said.