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Vananga - Place of Learning

It is important to us that we align our endeavours to our mission and our cultural obligations: to preserve and perpetuate Cook Islands culture, traditions and language.

One way we have done this is to encourage our community, especially our children, to come and learn our heritage arts of carving, printing and story telling.  Children come after school and in the school holidays to learn how to carve their own bowl or drum. The more advanced are carving ornamental pieces and ukulele.

We are proud that since August 2021 we have started to run Conversational Maori courses with Mike as the tutor. We are now running both a stage 1 beginners and a stage 2 course in our Maori.

We also want to help schools to come and have a cultural experience with us to learn about all sorts of interesting details about our Cook Islands history and art works. We work with the local schools to develop a suitable program for their students based on their age and the learning activity they are completing.

2021 has seen us have Imanuela Akatemia school spend a whole term with us carving drums twice a week. 

We offer the most affordable options possible to allow parents to have their children learn with us.

We are always so thankful for donations to help us resource our school activities and we are always grateful for sponsorship or any support to help with purchasing tools like chisels, paints, paper, sandpaper and ply wood to help with the activities we like to do with our school children.

The learning and education arm of our place keeps us motivated and inspired to bring more knowledge and sharing for our people and visitors to the Cook Islands and to the Gallery. 

If you are interested to hear more or learn how you can contribute or participate, please contact us.


We are able to offer carving lessons for both adults and children. In our kids lessons, they learn to carve a traditional Cook Islands drum or a bowl. Adults can pick what they'd like to carve and will be guided through the carving process.

If you are interested to know more or if you would like to register for a lesson, contact us at

We have started offering lessons in conversational Cook Islands Maori where the aim is to help participants understand the language and be confident and comfortable to try to speak everyday phrases to help ensure Cook Islands Maori becomes part of conversation through out the day. Mike Tavioni is the tutor and he uses his humour and unconventional free flow approach to encourage his students to try and make the mistakes but learn from them.

Contact us if you are interested in  enrolling in our next language lessons.

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We encourage schools to bring their students to us to learn about our Cook Islands culture, language and art. We love the opportunity to work with children incorporating functional art works, story telling and history to engage them and teach them something new and interesting about the Cook Islands.
Contact us if you would like to arrange a school visit.

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