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From the Airwaves

Each week Tim Higham gets to the heart of Island Life on Aotea Great Barrier Island through interviews on AoteaFM

Interviews from Monday 19th February

Aiming High – An interview with Kaitoke School Principle Leanne Eloff

Kaitoke School recently completed accreditation as an international school to enable relatives of a local family to live and study on the island for a year. 

“Initially, I didn’t realize the enormity of this opportunity for our school and for Aotea,” says Kaitoke School Principal Leanne Eloff. 

“We had to prove that we had a great curriculum, which we do. We have had quite a lot of interest – who wouldn’t want to live and study here – including families in Hawaii and Japan. They had researched off-grid living and were blown away by the Barrier and were very keen for their children to come to the school and be part of the community.

However, Leanne says the biggest challenge is finding long-term quality rental accommodation for international families.

In an interview on Aotea FM, this week, Leanne outlined potential solutions and her vision for the island as an educational destination, complete with high school and trades training. 

To listen to the full interview, click here: 

Creative Space – An Interview with Gallery Manager Ashlee Tawhiti

“They are made with the love of making, not just to sell” says manager Ashlee Tawhiti of exhibits at the Aotea Community Art Gallery.

“Visitors walk in and are kind of in shock. They feel like they aren’t really living in the real world, but somewhere where there’s nothing but happiness.” 

Ashlee (Ngāti Porou) says the island’s art community is super diverse.

“The tie that binds is upcycling and connection with the earth. Lots of our artists talk about nature and the beautiful motu that we are on. My role is as a curator is to help people over the line, and let themselves shine.”

Ashlee also exhibits her own raranga work and says the island has many talented weavers. I believe our whakapapa line comes through our weavers on the island. Their great skill continues in our muscle memory.”

New work by weaver Margaret Rose Ngawaka, wood carver Peter Edmonds, and painter Fenella Christian, opens at the gallery on February 28th and closes March 18th.

To hear the full interview with Ashlee on Aotea FM, click here: 

Words by Georgie Higham.

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