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Cook Islands Language Week kicks off with focus on youth and schools

Monday 1 July 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National

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Cook Islands Language Week kicks off with focus on youth and schools
Cook Islands cultural advisor, Tumu Korero, Raemaki Temaeva Karati. MELINA ETCHES/23112026

Today marks the beginning of the annual ‘Epetoma ō te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani – Cook Islands Language Week, which celebrates the languages of the Cook Islands.

Activities for the week based on the theme “Toku Reo Kūki 'Āirani, e tango ketaketa ia no toku ora’anga” starts this morning. They include a speech contest today, a youth debate on Tuesday followed by pe’e and purua (poetry) on Wednesday. The week will close with a string band competition for government departments.

Raemaki Karati, Poutoko Manava o te Reo Māori/Māori Language Advisor at Tauranga Vananga Ministry of Cultural Development, said: “This year we are focusing on the schools, we will look into extending the celebration of 'Epetoma ō te reo Māori Kūki 'Āirani to the private sector and further, next year.”

All activities will be facilitated by Tauranga Vananga at Te Are Karioi Nui (National Auditorium).

'Epetoma ō te reo Māori Kūki 'Āirani starts at 10am with the speech contest for primary schools.

Apii Takitumu, Apii Avarua, Apii Te Uki Ou, Apii Titikaveka, Apii Rutaki, Apii Arorangi and Apii Nikao representatives will be participating in this event.

Tomorrow, the Taumaroro’anga na te Mapu/Youth Debate programme for youth will start at 12 noon.

Four teams of three participants each from Mapu Vaka Takitumu, Mapu Vaka Puaikura, Mapu Vaka Te Au O Tonga, and Mapu Pa Enua will be taking part in the debate programme.

The country’s youth ambassadors, Nicolea Mateariki and Christian Tereora, who both featured at the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture in Hawai’i earlier this month in youth symposiums, are anticipated to be delivering their speeches.