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Nikao Maori School Educational Research Programme at the Ministry of Cultural Development

Last week from Tuesday 28th April to Friday 1st May, two main divisions within the Ministry of Cultural Development-Tauranga Vananga; the National Museum and the National Archives were the centre of visit from Nikao Maori School students.  Almost 300 primary school students from as young as 5 years old right up to 13 years old plus 22 teachers visited both the National Museum and the National Archives.

The Nikao Maori School’s visit was for the students to see and learn about the changes in the Cook Islands in the past 49 years leading to now 50 years of self-government.  These changes range from material things in the National Museum, documents (stories), and photos in terms of significant people that brought about the changes in the National Archives, storyboards and sculptures that tells our stories etc here in the National Culture Centre.   Of importance was what  this place (The Sir Geoffrey Henry National Culture Centre ) was before and  how the shape of the complex  aligned to the theme of  “Voyaging” during the 6th Pacific Festival of Arts in 1992.

Staff from the National Archives-Punanga Akamou Korero and the National Museum-Runanga Pakau took the initiative to prepare relevant information and resources for the students through:-

  1. A tour of the Sir Geoffrey Henry National Cultural Centre Complex

a)An introductory tour of the different divisions within the Ministry of Cultural Development;

b)Significant landmarks in the Puna Korero Marae i.e Ui Ariki Commemorative Plague built in 2007 before the Marae Atupare in Arorangi; Te Pua ote Ra; Te Ara o te Ra; Te Maru o te Ra; Te Puna Vai o Papa etc and not forgetting the Pua’au o Makea which is the walkway in between the two outrigger of this great vaka purua.

c)Significant Rock Sculptures such as Ta’ihia of Tahiti, Rongorongo of Easter Island and Maui and the Moko of Aotearoa.

  1. A tourof our National Archives to introduce the valuable information it holds such as:
  • historical photographs
  • old newspapers that were previously exhibited in the museum last year
  • old documents and many more

3.   A tour of the National Museum’s collection of the various artefacts and antiquities that is available on display and the stories that these hold such as the tivaivai; when it was first introduced and the 3 types of tivaivai and so forth.

4.   A historical photographic slide of the old photos of our township in those days and how they look today, general old photos of schools, rugby, gospel day celebration and so forth.

In accordance to their project, most of these tour services links in to the current 50 years of self government research which the students of Nikao Maori school were of interest in their field study.    Students and teachers were overwhelmed by the contents  and wealth of knowledge that both our National Archives and National Museum Staff have.

Meitaki maata from all of us in the National Museum and the National Archives.