Embracing Cook Islands culture

Thursday 15 October 2020 | Written by Katrina Lintonbon | Published in Culture

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Embracing Cook Islands culture
Danny Mataroa will be teaching basic Cook Islands Maori, traditions, protocols and history at Highland Paradise. Photo: COOK ISLANDS TOURISM. 20101417

Prior to Covid-19, Danny Mataroa used to share his knowledge about te reo Maori, protocols and history of the Cook Islands with up to 120 visitors a night at Maungaroa, more commonly known as Highland Paradise.

Instead of shutting up shop and waiting until the country’s border opens, Mataroa and the team at Highland Paradise have decided to offer weekly basic Maori language courses – Te Reo Parapara Maori – beginning next month.

There are two options, the first being a four-hour day time course from 9am until 1pm which will run over three weeks and starts on Tuesday, November 3.

The second is an evening two-hour course from 5.30pm-7.30pm starting on Thursday, November 5.

Mataroa said the lessons will not just be set in a classroom environment.

“What better place to have the courses, we will go for walks and learn about the history and culture of the Cook Islands, as well as protocols like what happens when someone passes away,” he said.

“The courses are not only for our English speaking friends we have Cook Islanders who don’t know how to speak Maori or have limited knowledge about the history, land and protocols and why our ancestors made some of the decisions they did.”

The language is not the main focus of the course although students will be taught how to introduce themselves and other basic phrases, Mataroa said.

Students will also learn the Cook Islands National Anthem in both Maori and in English and how to play ukulele among other things.

Registrations are now open and Mataroa said they have already had a number of enquiries.

At this stage they can cater for up to 30 students per class, but if demand is high, they will look at running some more courses. Call 21924 or 50567 for more information.