Samuel Samuel : Cook Islander debate

Wednesday June 24, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor

I was born in the 1940s in Rarotonga. I came to school in New Zealand when I was 17 and for several reasons and my health I am still here.

I was reading about Maori, Cook Islands Maori and Cook Islander.

In my young days we have the Are Korero in Ngatangiia. We sometime call around there just to listen. I also listened to my parents and the old people, as well as at school. What I have then learned about us was that we are the Maori – people of the Cook Islands; the native of the Cook Islands, the Tahitians are Mahoi, meaning to us as Maori.

The Hawaiians are Kaoli; again meaning to us as Maori. And I believe Easter Islands are Maori.

My understanding of the word Maori then was, Tumu-Enua or a Toke Enua; the people of the land. We became the Cook Islands between 1822 and 1835. We are then, the Cook Islands Maori, a Maori people of the Moana Nui o Kiva.

Those who have applied and given a Cook Islands citizen will then be Cook Islanders and our people should remain the Cook Islands people, the native of the land. Anyone with a Cook Islands blood is a Maori and only they are the Cook Islands Maori. Thank you na tetai Tumu Enua.

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