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11-year-old urges community to embrace reo Māori at Cook Islands Language Week

Tuesday 2 July 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, Education, Local, National

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11-year-old urges community to embrace reo Māori at Cook Islands Language Week
Rarotonga school students kicked off the annual ‘Epetoma ō te reo Māori Kūki 'Āirani with a speech competition at Are Karioi Nui. From left: Apii Rutaki – Katetubeta Katuke, Apii Takitumu – Amarah Gribble, Apii Te Uki Ou – Inano Urirau, Apii Arorangi – Zephania Aperau-Toa, Apii Nikao – Joshua Kaimarama, and Apii Titikaveka – Tangiia Tupuna. MELINA ETCHES/ 24070115

Language starts at home was the powerful message delivered distinctly in reo Māori by 11-year-old Inano Urirau on day one of the 'Epetoma ō te reo Māori Kūki 'Āirani - Cook Islands Language Week yesterday.

“Mei iāku rai, no te ngutuare te ngai i kite ei au i te tuatua i toku reo. Me kare koe metua e tuatua i toꞌou reo eia’a e kopekope i te au puapii, rapu koe i taꞌau, ka rapu rai te puapii i tana, kapiti ia raua ka riro mai mei iaku rai,” shared Urirau during Rarotonga schools speech contest held at the Are Karioi Nui (National Auditorium).

Impassioned pleas for the Māori language resonated as students took the stage delivering messages about the critical importance of preserving reo Māori based on the theme of Toku reo, tango ketaketa ia no toku ora’anga.

Eager to participate in the event, special “peu akarava” (guest artists) Marius Maoate from Apii Rutaki and Shane Daniel from Apii Nikao, also joined the speakers.

The Apii Avarua tangi ka’ara champions complemented the event with their drums and junior students delivered dancing performances.

Today at 12 noon, the youth debate will start followed by Pe’e and Purua (poetry) tomorrow, and the string band competition for government departments taking the stage on Thursday.

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.

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