Cook Island Language Week | Epetoma o te reo Maori Kuki ‘Airani’

Posted on 27/07/2023

COOK ISLAND LANGUAGE WEEK – A celebration of our language

Cook Island Language Week is a celebration of our rich culture, customs, traditions, and identity. It empowers Cook Islanders to take pride in their roots, strengthening the bond with their language. The week showcases our heritage through storytelling, songs, dance, cultural traditions, and family ties.

Cook Islands Maori, also known as Te Reo Maori Kuki Airani, is an Eastern Polynesian language closely related to Hawaiian, Tahitian, and New Zealand Maori.

Today, our local language holds significant historical value and is crucial for our past, present, and future. We strive to educate as many people as possible in Te Reo to enrich the language of our small island nation. Preserving and promoting Cook Islands Maori culture and language is a collective effort involving the entire community.

This year’s theme for Cook Islands Language Week is ‘Atuitui’ia au ki te au peu o tuku kainga Ipukarea. Which means, “connect me to the traditions and culture of my homeland”.

Festivities occur between July and August each year in honour of the local languages, and ties in with the Te Maeva Nui celebrations.  Click here to learn more



  • Pukapukan is a different dialect within the Cook Islands. Originating from the island of Pukapuka. Located in the Northern Group of the Cook Islands.
  • All islands have different accents. Some unique words and have certain ways of saying things.
  • The alphabet only has 13 letters in the Cook Islands.
  • “Ng” is one letter in the Cook Islands alphabet.
  • Long vowels used in Cook Islands Maori which can change the meaning of the word.
  • Te reo was a spoken language with no written form until missionaries wrote the language in the 1830s.
  • The Cook Islands languages are related to the indigenous languages of Aotearoa/New Zealand, Hawai‘i, the Marquesas.
  • English is the other official Cook Islands language.
  • There are several distinct dialects of Cook Islands Maori (“Rarotongan” is the most commonly used).

Cook Island Maori is an enchanting language to experience.  We love sharing our language with our guests, it’s a  great way to broaden your vocabulary and immerse yourself in our culture when visiting us.

To help with your next trip to our little slice of paradise, we have compiled a list of commonly used Cook Island phrases to get you started:

Click here to learn Cook Island phrases

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Photo Credit: Children – David Kirkland

Photo Credit: Aunties – Dylan Harrison