Students from the Australia-Pacific Technical College’s Suva campus have visited the island of Bau to present the Bau District School with a new school signboard to replace one destroyed in the cyclone at the end of last year.
The signboard was created by APTC Certificate Level III students in the Painting and Decorating program Danley Maume, Lesley Pakoa, Timuani Selu and Ioata Ma’aeli, led by their Tutor Eroni Civanilakeba.
The school’s teachers and students were grateful for the APTC students’ initiative and thoughtfulness, while for their part the APTC group, who are from various Pacific island countries and cultural backgrounds, said they were “amazed” at the traditional form of welcome and hospitality they received.
First-year student Danley Maume, from Papua New Guinea, said it was an experience he enjoyed because of the cultural exchange with the people of Bau. Danley, currently doing the second block of the Painting and Decorating course, added that the initiative to make a signboard and visit the island was a highlight of his time at the APTC he “would never forget”.
Bau is located off the east coast of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu and has important historical associations. It was a considerable power before Fiji was ceded to Great Britain and it was at Bau District School that the President of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikiau, received his primary education.
APTC Tutor Eroni Cinavilakeba is himself from Bau. He said creating the new signboard was something he had meant to do for the village, but that the APTC students’ artistic flair had turned it into a collective work.
The new signboard bears the school motto of finding safety in God and is marked with the school’s emblem of a dove and cross. Bau District strongly believes that education and faith are two important factors in a person’s development.