Taupo Intermediate School signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Collège Jean Mariotti of Nouméa to become ‘sister-schools’.
The signing of the sister-school agreement, or ‘Twining’, took place this morning at the Taupo Yacht Club, and was attended by students from both schools, representatives from Taupo District Council, and the French Embassy.
Mayor Rick Cooper and Taupo Intermediate Principal Bill Clarke signed on behalf of Taupo Intermediate, with the Madam Marie-Claude Mezouar Principal of Collège Jean Mariotti, and Mr Ives Melet, Vicerecteur of New Caledonia, signing on behalf of Jean Mariotti.
Mayor Cooper welcomed the group, with Council CEO Rob Williams translating in French. Mr Melet then addressed the crowd, thanking them for their hospitality while in New Zealand.
The initiative, which stems from Taupo’s existing sister-city agreement with Nouméa, will see closer relations between the two schools to strengthen relationships, understanding and appreciation between New Zealand and New Caledonia. It is hoped the agreement will see more exchanges between students from the two schools, sharing culture and language with one another, and will also encourage further ties of friendship through regular communication.
Councillor Doreen Blyth, who helped make the agreement happen, was pleased with the ceremony, and what the agreement will mean for the schools. “It’s really nice to see the kids mingling with each other and not letting the language barrier get in the way. Hopefully they will forge some lasting friendships and precious memories.”
Students from Taupo Intermediate welcomed the crowd with a Kapa haka, which was later followed by a traditional French song from the girls of Collège Jean Mariotti.
A group of 18 Kanak women, the indigenous people of Nouméa, also performed some traditional songs. The group of ladies are commissioned by the Nouméan City Council to share and encourage the New Caledonian culture, and will be sharing some of their artistic skills at an expo day at the Warakei Terraces on Thursday.