Robert Louis Stevenson School opened their doors to Aorere College on Friday to allow their visitors to experience schooling in Samoa.
The group of eight students and two teachers are in the country for a 10 day experience courtesy of the Air New Zealand Air Points Scheme.
The trip focuses on reconnection and rediscovery as the all eight students are from Samoa.
One of the teachers Marie Su’a who is the schools Pacifica and year 13 dean spoke to Samoa Observer yesterday about the trip.
“The reason Aorere College is here is because we were given the opportunity to be the recipient of Air Points donations by the members of the Air Points Scheme which is run by Air New Zealand,” she said.
“We were fortunate enough to raise 10,000 in donation of Air Points and as a result Eight Students and two teachers from our college were able to travel for free from Auckland to Apia for a 10 day experience.
“The purpose of the trip was for us to reconnect and to rediscover identity and culture.
“All of the eight students have a Samoan part in their heritage and three of them have never been on a plane before and have never traveled to Samoa.
“So this has been a journey of reconnection and discovery as they have discovered their families, their villages before they made the migration to New Zealand.”
The visit to Robert Louis Stevenson School provided so much insight for the students and they got to have a taste of what schooling in Samoa is like. “We want it to make the experience as real as possible and in order to do that we wanted them to experience a Samoan School,” Mrs. Su’a said.
“So we are just staying down the road and choosing Robert Louis Stevenson was mainly for convenience because it was the closest school and we had contact already provided by our accommodation provider and they were open to our kids to come and be a part of the school.”
According to Mrs. Su’a, they have managed to do so much in a short time and the students will surely be taking a lot back when they return home. “Since we’ve been here we visited Piula, we experience the cultural show by the tourism authority, we have been to a church service and visited the town area,” she said.
“We also went to Samoa Colleges athletics day, we ate Pinati’s which was an experience in itself and it’s guaranteed the best value for money for a good square meal.
“Part of our Air Points application for schools we mentioned that we will do community service and we see that the sea wall is very popular for the tourists and locals,
“So tomorrow we will do our part in cleaning up as much as the sea wall as possible as a token of appreciation for hosting us.”
Mrs. Su’a is grateful for the opportunity given to them by Air New Zealand to reconnect with their culture and heritage.
“It has been an awesome experience,” she said. “Both Ms Aloali’I and I have grown up in Samoa and were students of Samoa College and for us it has been very fulfilling to be able to bring these kids over from New Zealand.
“We took them on a tour of Samoa College so it was great to show them our school.
“The students will be taking home a lot of memories and our hope is that it will ignite a passion for them to reconnect with their heritage.
“We want to thank Air New Zealand over and over again; we hope that we can be the recipient again and again of such generous donations which will not only help the Samoan Group but also the Tongans, Cook Island group and so on.
“Aorere College demographically is made up of 50% pacific islanders and this will be such an awesome experience for all of them.
“Thank you Air New Zealand again.”