Saturday 22 April 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Features, Weekend
As we come to the end of the trip, we reflect on the skills, connections, and knowledge we have gained. During the trip, we learnt many skills, including working with a diverse group of people. Working in groups where we all have different values and perspective, understanding how to come together towards the same vision is important. We learned how to follow a method of leadership. In school, especially in a leadership role, I was just told to lead, but I didn’t quite know how to be a good leader. With this course, we learned about a process that enabled us to work collaboratively through practical, hands-on activities that I found really fun.
Friday, April 14 – Day one of the Pacific Leaders Program has begun! Today, we met the students from New Zealand and Australia who will be attending the 2023 Cook Islands course. Later in the evening, we flew to Rarotonga. Upon arriving, we were greeted by Emma Yates, the Program Manager, and Jethro Gilbert, the CEO.
Saturday, April 15 – Day Two in sunny Rarotonga! Today, we visited the Punanga Nui Market where students had the opportunity to purchase souvenirs for their families or themselves. Afterwards, we went to Muri Beach to explore and have a swim. Later in the day, the staff organised a leadership workshop with practical activities that focused on connecting the students with each other.
Sunday, April 16 – Day Three of our Future Leaders Rarotonga trip! Today, we visited the local church then Tereora College, where we learned about our Task Achievement Process, which prepares our leaders with the skills to lead a team. This is where I learned how to follow a leadership method. In school, especially in a leadership role, I was just told to lead but didn’t quite know how to be a good leader. With this course
, we learnt about a process that enabled us to work collaboratively through practical, hands-on activities that I found really fun. We then finished our day with a delicious bite to eat at the night market.
Monday, April 17 – Day Four! Today, we followed Syndicate One, who had a Umu experience where our students got to prepare and eat traditional Cook Islands food. Later on we walked to another island for the Island Survivor activity and raft building! Some feedback I received from a syndicate leader today was that life goes on. “Choose happiness, and the rest will sort itself out. Taking care of yourself can be the best way to achieve your dreams.” This is a valuable piece of advice that will help us make decisions in life.
Tuesday, April 18 – Day Five of our Future Leaders in the Cook Islands started off at the Bank of South Pacific, where they had to present their business ideas. They then went to Gallery Tavioni and wrapped up the day by learning their haka and waiata! Micky White (a student) said her favourite activity was the crafting, carving and sarong making because she enjoyed learning about the process of it being made. A key piece of advice we received today was “To be a good leader you need confidence in yourself for others to be confident with you leading”.
Wednesday, April 19 – Day Six! Today, we started with syndicate projects to come up with solutions to a challenge in Rarotonga. Then, we went to do a beach clean-up and finished the day by having dinner with the Minister of Education for the Cook Islands. During the trip, I realised that I wasn’t always the leader, which was different from my experience at school where I tended to lead activities. It was actually a really nice experience because I was able to understand the different styles of leadership and how to be a good team player. One unexpected development for me was gaining more confidence in myself. I have always been confident, but I realised that I was lacking a clear understanding of my personal values. This trip helped me realise what my personal values are.
Thursday, April 20 – Day Seven! We went on a huge hike to the Needle, where our Future Leaders showed courage by climbing the rock face and enjoying the amazing view of the island. We also got some beach time to unwind before returning to the hostel, where each syndicate was given an hour to create a performance!
Friday, April 21 – Final Day eight of the course ended with the graduation where in the morning we spent goal setting for our future as we reflected on what we learnt during the week. Then popped down to Muri beach enjoying the warm sunny weather to later finish off with our graduation as each student was recognised for their work this week.
Overall, I am sure everyone will take away something valuable from the course. The leadership skills I learned during the week are definitely something I can take with me, no matter what career I pursue. One thing that stuck with me was when the leaders told us that what you put in is what you get out. They encouraged us to act like a sponge, as this allows us to learn and truly develop valuable skills.