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Graduates prove age is no barrier to learning

Saturday 26 November 2022 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Education, Features, National

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Graduates  prove age is  no barrier  to learning
Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute (CITTI) graduates at the National Auditorium yesterday. 22112544

One hundred and thirteen (113) graduates walked across the stage to receive their certificates in the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute graduation at the National Auditorium on Friday.

Learning never stops, continue to equip and educate yourself, says Cook Islands Rugby Union development manager Ben Koteka.

Koteka was one of the 113 students who graduated from the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute (CITTI) yesterday after completing their accredited qualifications in various areas of business, hospitality and trade.

Graduates were from Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mangaia, Atiu and Mauke including foreign workers based here.

All qualifications are accredited by New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Koteka graduated with Leadership Level 5, which took him 18 months to complete, and Building/Construction Level 3 course from early this year.


Ben Koteka and mum Tutu Koteka at the CITTI graduation. 22112546

The 57-year-old said he took up the construction course because he wanted to formally learn how to build properly.

“It’s finally here, guess it’s like anything but we have now been empowered and it’s up to us to empower others and share what we have learnt.”

Koteka said God wants people to not just have a long life but a full life.

“We learn something new every day. This week I am working with the Black Fern girls and just learning heaps.”

His advice to others is to take advantage of the opportunity to study at the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute.

Bank of the South Pacific Cook Islands staff, Tahiti Isaaka, who also graduated yesterday, said she was overwhelmed and happy she completed her one year of study.


Tahiti Isaaka (middle) with her mum Tokorua Isaac carrying baby Moana and sister (right) Maria after her graduation. 22112548

She advises young Cook Islanders to join CITTI, especially if they have not completed their tertiary education.

Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute coordinator Ovaia Liew said outer island courses were successful through online learning.

Liew said they only visited the outer islands for practical classes.

She said the idea behind the courses offered by the Institute “is that age is no limit, you can learn anything, enhance your career, knowledge and pathways through CITTI”.


Tuaine Atera with her New Zealand Certificate in Business. 22112539

Reiterating the CITTI director’s message, Liew said: “We are an inclusive learning environment, if people feel it’s not for them, we will do our best to get them through.”

Minister for Education Vaine (Mac) Mokoroa hailed the graduates, saying given their age, they did exactly what Winston Churchill said – “never give up”.

Mokoroa also acknowledged the graduates for willing to study through the CITTI and New Zealand course providers.
He urged the graduates to stay back in Cook Islands and make use of their learnings.