News Centre

Cook Island Language Week

Alexandria Lazatin (Year 11)

Kia Orana!

There is a small population of Cook Island students and teachers at Sancta Maria College. Mrs Rehu and Mr Rimamate wanted to acknowledge the culture of these people. From t 2nd – 6th August was the celebration of Cook Island Language and Culture.

Mrs Rehu was born in Rarotonga (Cook Islands) while Mr Raimamate was born in New Zealand with family from Mangaia. They are two of the 15 islands that make up the Cook Islands.

Throughout the week, as well as greeting (Kia Orana) and language, teachers were invited to CG2 to create ei-katu (flower crown) – decorative head-pieces that can be worn to celebrate special occasions (weddings, birthdays, celebrations) in the Cook Islands (and New Zealand).

Ei-katu is a historical accessory that has been worn for many years by both women and men, and even children! They are made from fresh, plastic or silk flowers that originate from the islands such as hibiscus, frangipani, and tiare Maori. These crowns are known to bring happiness and joy, while also highlight the island’s colour and liveliness.

According to Mrs Rehu, “When Cook Island mamas (grandmas, mums, aunties) get together there is always a lot of laughter, story-telling, cheekiness, and family (anau) history shared.” She said that when staff members came together during the sessions throughout the week, “Everyone was laughing! I was talking about the history, and answering many questions about the beautiful flowers. It was a fabulous pass time! The ei-katu were like gardens on their heads.”