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School unveils tribute to Nanny Lou

The tukutuku panel unveiled at South End School in Carterton on Thursday, in memory of Nanny Lou Cook. Pictured are Gavin Rangi, his wife, Wendy, and daughter, Jaimee. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

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South End School in Carterton has paid tribute to arguably their biggest supporter, Roena Louise Cook, with a tukutuku panel.

The panel, which was unveiled at the school, was created in memory of their number one fan, affectionately known as Nanny Lou, or Aunty Lou in the wider Wairarapa community.

Nanny Lou died, aged 85, at the end of April this year after dedicating her life to helping others and bringing the community closer together.

The panel features poutama, representing the stairway to higher education, as well as te manawa [the heart].

It was inspired by Nanny Lou’s marae responsibilities and support. White feathers at the top of the panel signify her status in the community.

South End School principal Clare Crawford said Nanny Lou was involved in the Carterton school community for many years.

“She was always supportive in cultural matters that reflected the feeling and kaupapa of tamariki, and whanau.”

South End School kaiawhena [helper] Tina Rahui said Nanny Lou particularly enjoyed watching the school children perform kapa haka – “it always put a smile on her face, and I just know her heart was always with the students”.

The colours in the tukutuku are black and white, “symbolic of the treasured Huia bird”, and purple, “Nanny Lou’s favourite colour”.

Gavin Rangi, who was raised by Nanny Lou and attended South End School, did the honours of unveiling the panel.

He said it was very special coming back to the school, and he was glad to see Nanny Lou’s contributions to the school were cherished.

“South End School always had a special place in her heart,” he said.


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