The Cook Islands drumming workshop at Rowandale in South Auckland in 2020. Photo: Pacific Media Network/22073146
New Zealand Government is opening an online hub for young Cook Islanders to tuatua (talk) about their culture, in honour of Cook Islands Language Week.
Koanga Māpū Youth Digital Hub was developed with youth in mind, as a central platform for them to capture their elders’ stories and knowledge – kōrero – for their peers and generations to come.
o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani – Cook Islands Language Week began on Sunday (NZ
theme for the week is ‘Ātuitui’ia au ki te Oneone o tōku ‘Ui Tupuna’, meaning “connect
me to the soil of my ancestors”.
was intentionally the same theme as 2021, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito
William Sio said.
on this theme for a second year allows us to “iriiri manako” or think hard on
it and deeply examine what this means in terms of the retention of Te Reo Māori
Kūki ‘Airani language and Pe’u Māori culture.”
9 per cent of Cook Islands people speak the language and it is classified as
vulnerable by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
some ways, it serves as both as a warning; elders with the institutional and
historical and deep understanding of the language and culture are passing away
and that knowledge is being lost,” Sio said.
the same time, it provides an opportunity to capture their stories for
perpetuity, so future generations can benefit and celebrate this indigenous
Rongo, the Cook Islands Language Week lead from the Cook Islands Development
Agency New Zealand, said too few people in New Zealand spoke Cook Islands
suspected barely half of those still in the Cook Islands did either – even
Parliamentary business was conducted in English.
starts from the top, it starts from our leaders,” he said.
our language really means something to us, it will have to start from home, in
the Cook Islands.”
in Aotearoa, there weren’t enough spaces for young people to learn their reo,
Rongo said. Families were too busy to teach their children at home and
community group numbers were dwindling.
said elders in the community needed to urgently pass the torch to their young
relatives and keep the reo alive.
language week I feel sorry we’re going to keep celebrating and it’s slowly
going to keep fading away,” he said.
are events all over the country celebrating Cook Islands Language Week – check
wrap up the week, there will be a Kapa Nui’ Festival at the Vodafone Centre in
Manukau, hosted by Te Maeva Nui Trust.