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Source: New Zealand Government

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio wishes to congratulate the Cook Islands community throughout Aotearoa for the 9th year of Te ‘Epetoma o Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani, the Cook Islands Language Week. 

“This 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, and working to nurture its growth in Aotearoa,” says Aupito William Sio. 

“But 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.

The theme for the Cook Islands Language Week 2020 is “Kia pūāvai tō tātou Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani i Aotearoa”; which means, “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.

“That’s 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 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 9 Pacific language weeks, MPP is also funding Pacific community language initiatives so that young people can access a whole new world of Pacific language learning opportunities.

The Cook Islands Language Week programme will be officially launched online tomorrow, Saturday 1 August at 10am, on the Cook Islands Language Week 2020 Facebook page and will run from Sunday 2 August to Saturday 8 August.

“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’ll 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. And I think this simple act alone will enrich us all as peoples of Aotearoa,” says Aupito William Sio.

Further information

The Cook Islands are a self-governing nation and a member of the New Zealand Realm and comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometres (93 sq. mi) and is home to around 17,459 people (2016 census).

Further information about Cook Islands Language Week including resources, can be found here.