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Friday 18 November 2011 | Published in Regional


Rarotonga school children are set to benefit from visiting paddlers for the annual Vaka Eiva festival through the adopt-a-school programme.

The outrigger canoeing festival brings untold excitement to the Cook Islands and this will be a wonderful opportunity for all Rarotonga school students and school communities to meet the paddling athletes and teams from all over the world, and in turn, share with the athletes our unique culture of the Cook Islands through this new Vaka Eiva initiative.

Adopt-a-school has provided an opportunity for visiting paddlers to forge links with a local school as a form of cultural exchange and to give, in kind, much needed educational resources to the school children.

For Cook Islands school children, the initiative will provide valuable educational opportunities to get behind and support Vaka Eiva 2011 through a variety of learning experiences and cultural exchanges between schools and teams.

Furthermore, the adopt-a-school initiative will give students a better understanding of the world around them in relation to their own position in the world.

In total, 21 of the 33 schools across the Cook Islands have been adopted by visiting paddling teams.

This Saturday St Josephs Catholic School kids will turn out to the Rarotonga airport in full force to welcome to the island their adopted team, Port Macquarie Maroro from Australia.

St Josephs will also be at all the Vaka Eiva events to cheer on the team who will make a special visit to the school to deliver gifts of books and stationery.

One of the most exciting match ups in the adopt-a-school programme is that between top Australian crew the Crown Beach Kings and the alternative learning school Rakei Toa.

Rakei Toa students will be taking the high calibre team to their plantation to show the paddlers how to pull and peel taro.

In return the Crown Beach Kings will be hoping to inspire the boys to set goals and aim for the stars.

A paddling session between the crew and boys school is also on the cards and this is just one way that visiting oe vaka paddlers and local children and schools can build lifelong bonds.

Adopted schools are Avarua School adopted by Northcliffe Outriggers (Queensland, Aust), Avatea School adopted by The Old Jandals (Tauranga, NZ), Arorangi School adopted by Hekili (Cairns, Australia), Rutaki School adopted by Porirua Canoe Kayak Club (NZ), Nikao, Maori School adopted by Waka Waka (Waikato, NZ), Takitumu School adopted by Te Ika Nui, St Josephs School adopted by Maroro, Port Macquarie Outrigging canoe club, Te Uki Ou School adopted by Anuenue (Hawaii), Imanuela Akatemia adopted by Te Toki Aunties (Hamilton, NZ), Black Rock ECE adopted by Rogz for Dogz (Sydney, Aust), Titikaveka College adopted by Sunshine Coast Juniors, Nukutere College adopted by Wahine Maia and Kaiarahi, Papaaroa SDA adopted by Jericho Womens Team (Canada), Rakei Toa adopted by Crown Beach Kings (Aust), Vaitau School adopted by Mooloolaba Snr Marsters and Marsters, Tekaaroa SDA adopted Patterson Lakes Outrigger Club (Aust), Mitiaro School adopted by Team Pounamu, Tauhunu School adopted by Echuca Inland Outrigger (Aust), Tukao School adopted by Waitakere OCC (NZ), Tetautua School adopted by Waka Down Under (Aust), Palmerston School adopted by Turangawaewae Waka Sports (NZ).