Cook Islands school in need of renovation

  • 05/08/2015
Cook Islands school in need of renovation

By Sarah Robson

The classrooms are damp, to the point they're making teachers sick, there are cracks in some of the walls and the floors are often no more than bare concrete.

It's safe to say the Cook Islands' national secondary school, Tereora College, is in desperate need of a makeover.

But to mark the Pacific nation's 50 years of self-government in free association with New Zealand, the New Zealand Government has offered to foot some of the bill - $11.7 million - to rebuild it.

Prime Minister John Key says that money will help fund the first phase of the redevelopment of the school, which includes the design and construction of an administration centre, library and technology block.

The school has close to 650 students and its buildings are around 50 years old.

Tereora College principal Tania Morgan says they have become quite run down.

"One of our teachers got quite sick because of the wetness and the dampness within the classrooms," she told reporters.

"Because of the weather here and when it gets quite wet, it soaks up."

Director of Pacific Development David Nicholson says the students' NCEA success rates are as good - if not better - than the average in New Zealand.

He's hopeful the first phase of the school rebuild will be completed by the end of 2017.

Tereora College is the only school in the Cook Islands to take students all the way through to Year 13.

Meanwhile, to mark the Cook Islands' constitutional milestone, the Australian government is donating a mini-van to the southern island of Mangaia for people with disabilities.

The van hasn't yet been sourced and fitted out, but Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss announced the gift at a ceremony on Mangaia.

"Through this gift, Australia welcomes the opportunity to assist people with disabilities on the outer Island of Mangaia and, in a practical way, help them to have better access to community services," Mr Truss said.