New Zealand High Commission Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Outward Bound meets youth Development

Yesterday I was fortunate to visit the site of the former outward bound outdoor pursuit’s course with former instructor Mataiti Mataiti.  The course, located in the Takitimu Conservation area, was first built by the NZ Army. 

In 1985 it began to be used as an outward bound style course, and Mataiti later attended the NZ Outward Bound Course at Anikiwa and became a qualified outdoor instructor.  Mataiti ran courses at the site in Titikaveka until 2007 when he was severely affected by ciguatera fish poisoning.  Unfortunately with Mataiti’s illness, the course fell into abeyance, and the much of the site is now overgrown.  But the track up to the site is in exceptionally good condition, thanks no doubt to the work of the Takitimu Conservation Trust, and the education building could quickly be brought back up to scratch with a little TLC.  Some of the obstacles remain too and others, like the flying -fox could easily be rebuilt.

The organisers of the visit were members of the Cook Islands Police, Sgt Marsterton Enjoy, and Const Aporo Kirikava along with NZ Police adviser Sgt Nga Utanga.  Sgt Enjoy is beginning a new role in CI Police focused on youth development and youth justice.  The Police are looking for new ways to engage and motivate Cook Island youth.  It could be that rehabilitation of the outward bound course would fit well with their programme. 

The New Zealand High Commission has been involved in a number of programmes aimed at supporting youth development in the Cook Islands.  These include development of the Youth helpline initiative to address youth suicide, support for Uniformed Organisations, foundation of the Future for Youth Committee, coordination of the annual ANZAC day essay competition, and support for the 2013 Heather Cook Islands Bluelight Youth Leadership Course.  We look forward to continuing to work with Cook Islands agencies supporting youth development.

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