Cook Islands Language Week is going strong

posted: 9:00 pm - 2nd August 2020
Cook Island Langauge Week Poster 2020 VP2

(Picture caption: Cook Islands Language Week runs from August 2-8.)  

The Cook Islands community around New Zealand is gearing up to celebrate the ninth edition of Te ‘Epetoma o Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani - Cook Islands Language Week.  

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio says it is a proud milestone that reflects on the huge effort made by the Cook Islands community and its leaders in Aotearoa to revitalise their language and culture through the Cook Islands Language Week programme.

“We also know there is so much more work to be done to ensure the future and sustainability of Te Reo Māori Kūki Āirani, the language of the Cook Islands,” Minister Sio says.

The theme for the Cook Islands Language Week 2020 is Kia pūāvai tō tātou Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani i Aotearoa, which in English translates to, That the Cook Islands Māori language may blossom throughout New Zealand.

“This is the kind of theme that speaks about the wishes of all Pacific elders who want to see their children speak their Pacific languages confidently, and have all New Zealanders value and appreciate Pacific languages and cultures, and to see it flourish for years to come,” the Minister continues.

“That is why this Government is committed to supporting the languages and cultures of Pacific Aotearoa, as they are integral elements to the wellbeing and success of our Pacific communities in New Zealand.

“The Government demonstrated this commitment in Budget 2019 by investing $20 million over four years so that the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) can provide funding support to our communities to ensure our Pacific languages thrive throughout Aotearoa.

“We’ve since invested $3.9 million into the Pasifika Education Centre so that they can provide Pacific language community courses and extend their reach through online platforms.”

In addition to funding nine Pacific language weeks, MPP is also funding Pacific community language initiatives so young people can access a whole new world of Pacific language learning opportunities, Minister Sio says.

The Cook Islands Language Week programme has been officially launched online on August 1 on the Cook Islands Language Week 2020 Facebook page and will run from August 2 until August 8.

“I would encourage all New Zealanders to join in the celebration of the Cook Islands culture and language, both online and in their day to day lives, by learning and using simple words and phrases such as Kia orana (Hello/Greetings), Meitaki (Thank you), Kā kite (See you later) and Ōtira ‘ua (Yours sincerely for signing off emails).

“It’s an opportunity for all of us to learn and speak another language - we should all be striving to embrace Pacific bilingualism.

“When we do this, we will not only be able to communicate in another way, but we’ll also gain a better understanding of the diverse cultures of our community in New Zealand.

“I think this simple act alone will enrich us all as peoples of Aotearoa,” Minister Sio says.

Visit MPP for Cook Islands Language Week information and resources.