The Cook Islands Māori language, also called Māori Kūki 'Āirani or Rarotongan, is the official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...
of the Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...
. Most Cook Islanders
Cook Islanders or Cook Islands Māori are residents of the Cook Islands, which is composed of 15 islands and atolls in Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean.- Citizenship and nationality :...
also call it Te reo Ipukarea, literally "the language of the Ancestral Homeland".
Cook Islands Māori became an official language of the Cook Islands in 2003. According to Te Reo Maori Act, Maori:
- (a) means the Māori language (including its various dialects) as spoken or written in any island of the Cook Islands; and
- (b) Is deemed to include Pukapukan as spoken or written in Pukapuka; and
- (c) Includes Māori that conforms to the national standard for Māori approved by Kopapa Reo; (see external link).
These dialects of the Cook Islands Māori are :
Rakahanga-Manihiki is a Cook Islands Maori dialectal variant belonging to the Polynesian languages family, spoken by about 2500 people on Rakahanga and Manihiki Islands and another 2500 in other countries, mostly New Zealand and Australia...
The Penrhyn language is a Polynesian language spoken by about 600 people on Penrhyn Island and other islands of the Cook Islands. It is considered to be an endangered language....
- the Ngaputoru dialects of Atiu
Atiu, also known as Enuamanu , is an island lying at 187 km to the northeast of Rarotonga, in the Southern Islands group of the Cook Islands Archipelago.-Geography:...
Mitiaro, the fourth island in the Cook Islands group, is of volcanic origin. Standing in water 14,750 feet deep it is four miles across at its widest point.-Geography:...
Mauke is a raised atoll island, the eastern most of the Cook Islands.-Geography:...
Aitutaki, also traditionally known as Araura, Ararau and Utataki, is one of the Cook Islands, north of Rarotonga. It has a population of approximately 2,000. Aitutaki is the second most visited island of the Cook Islands. The capital is Arutanga on the west side.-Geography:Aitutaki is an "almost...
- Rarotongan dialect; and
Mangaia is the most southerly of the Cook Islands and the second largest, after Rarotonga.-Geography:...
It is closely related to Tahitian
Tahitian is an indigenous language spoken mainly in the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is an Eastern Polynesian language closely related to the other indigenous languages spoken in French Polynesia: Marquesan, Tuamotuan, Mangarevan, and Austral Islands languages...
and New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...
Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...
, and there is a degree of mutual intelligibility with these two languages.
The language is regulated by the kopapa reo created in 2003.
The Pukapukan language
Pukapukan is a Polynesian language that developed in isolation on the island of Pukapuka in the northern group of the Cook Islands...
is considered by scholars as a distinct language closely related with Samoan and the language
Tokelauan is a Polynesian language closely related to Tuvaluan.-Speakers:It is spoken by about 1,500 people on the atolls of Tokelau, and by the few inhabitants of Swains Island in neighbouring American Samoa. It is a member of the Samoic family of Polynesian languages. It is, alongside English,...
spoken on the three atolls of Tokelau
Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls with a combined land area of 10 km2 and a population of approximately 1,400...
Writing system and pronunciation
There is a debate about the standardization of the writing system
A writing system is a symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language.-General properties:Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that the reader must usually understand something of the associated spoken language to...
. Although the usage of the macron (־) te makaroni, and the glottal (') (/ʔ/) is recommended, most speakers do not use these two diacritics in everyday writing.
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...
In phonetics, a flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, which is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator is thrown against another.-Contrast with stops and trills:...
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...
- Present only in Manihiki
- Present only in Penrhyn
- Present only in Manihiki and Penrhyn
A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in front as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes also...
A central vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a central vowel is that the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel...
A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...
A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close vowel is that the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.This term is prescribed by the...
A close-mid vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close-mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned two-thirds of the way from a close vowel to a mid vowel...
An open vowel is defined as a vowel sound in which the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth. Open vowels are sometimes also called low vowels in reference to the low position of the tongue...
As with most South Pacific
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania range from the coral atolls and volcanic islands of the South Pacific to the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago...
languages, classical descriptions are generally based on the system used for Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...
, especially concerning grammatical classes. Today linguists try to avoid it, considering it a form of Eurocentrism
Eurocentrism is the practice of viewing the world from a European perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of European culture...
, even if any such description is adequate.
Most of these examples are taken from Cook Islands Maori Dictionary
, by Jasper Buse with Raututi Taringa edited by Bruce Biggs and Rangi Moeka'a, Auckland, 1995.
| 1st inc
| 1st exc
- you -2 or more- and I
- they and I
Singular pronoun examples
| Pronoun ||| Cook Islands Maori
|| Word-to-word and gloss
||Ka 'aere au ki te 'āpi'i āpōpō
||I'm going to school tomorrow.
|| (unaccomplished asp.)/ go / I / (prep. goal/destination) / the / learn / tomorrow
|Ka 'ārote au inana'i, nō te ua rā, kua 'akakore au
||I was going to do the ploughing yesterday, but gave it up because of the rain.
| (unaccomplished asp.) / plough / I / yesterday / because (origin) / the / rain / day /(perfect asp.) / give up (litt. "do nothing") /I
||Kua kino iā koe tō mātou mōtokā
||You damaged our car.
|| (perfect asp.) / bad / by / you /(possession)/we (exclusive) /car
|Ko koe 'oki, te tangata tā te 'akavā e kimi nei
||You are the person the police are looking for.
|| (subject marker) / you / also / the / man / (possession) / the / police / (progressive asp. with "nei") /look for/here and now.
|| 'Ea'a 'aia i 'aere mai ei
||Why did he/she come?
|| why ('ea'a... ei) / he or she / (accomplished asp) / go / towards me /
|Kāre 'aia i konei
||He/she is not here.
|| (negation asp.) / he or she / (marking position) / here
Dual pronoun examples
| Pronoun ||| Cook Islands Maori
|| Word-to-word and gloss
|| 'aere tāua !
||Let us go!
|| go / we two (inclusive)
|Ko tō tāua taeake tērā ake
|| Here come our friends.
|| (subject marker) / (possession) / we two (inclusive) / friend or relative of the same generation (brother, sister, cousin either sex) speaking, but not in laws./ that (deictic)/ a little time (or distance)away
| we two, us two (he/she and I)
|| Ka 'oki māua ma Taria ki te kāinga
|| Taria and I are going back home.
|| (unaccomplished asp.)/ return / we two (exclusive) / with / Taria/ (prep. goal)/ the / home
|To tāua taeake tērā ake
|| Here come our friends.
|| (subject marker) / possession / we two (exclusive) / friend / that (deictic)/ a little time (or distance away)
| Kōrua : you two
|| 'āe ! kua rongo kōrua i te nūti!
|| Hey! Have you heard the news?
|| hey (interj) / (perfect asp.) / hear / you two / (object marker) / the / news /
| Na kōrua teia puka
|| This book belongs to you two.
|| (Possession) / you two / this (deictic) / book
| Rāua : they, them (the two of them)
|| Tuatua muna tēia, ka akakite 'ua atu au kia rāua
|| This is a confidential matter, I shall only tell it to those two.
|| speak, speech / secret / this / (unaccomplished asp.) / reveal (make known) / only / away (from the speaker)/ I / (prep. ki+a)towards (someone)/ they two
| No 'ea mai rāua ?
|| Where have the two of them been? / What have they been doing?
|| from / (time and space interr.) / (indicating progression of time towards present) / they two
Plural pronoun examples
| Pronoun ||| Cook Islands Maori
|| Word-to-word and gloss
| Tātou : We, us (you -2 or more- and I)
|| Ko'ai tā tātou e tiaki nei
|| Who are we waiting for?
|| Who (subject marker+identity interr.) / (possession) / we, all of us (inclusive) / (progressive asp.) / wait for / here and now
| Kāre ā tātou kai toe
|| We have no more food.
|| (Negation asp.) / (possession) / we, all of us (inclusive) / eat, food / remain, remaining, the rest
| Mātou : we, us (they and I)
|| Ko mātou ma Tere mā i 'aere mai ei
|| We came with Tere and the others.
|| (subject marker)/ we (exclusive) / with, and / Tere / (part used only after persons meaning those in company with / (accomplisshed asp.) / go / (movement towards speaker) / (emphasis marks)
| Kua kite mai koe ia mātou
|| You saw us.
|| (perfect asp.) / see(towards speaker) / you / at someone (i+a) / we (exclusive)
| Kōtou : (all of you)
|| E 'aere atu kōtou, ka āru atu au
|| You go on, and I'll follow.
|| (imperative asp.)/ go / (away from the speaker) / you all / (unaccomplished asp.) / follow / go / (away from the speaker) / I
| Ko kōtou ko'ai mā i aere ei ki te tautai ?
|| Who did you go fishing with?
|| (Subject marker) / you all / who (identity interr.) / in company with / (accomplished asp.) / go / (emphasis) / (goal/destination) / the / fishing
| Rātou : they, them (more than two)
|| Kua pekapeka rātou ko Tere
|| They and Tere have quarrelled.
|| (perfect asp.)/ trouble / they all / (subject marker)/ Tere
| Nō rātou te pupu māro'iro'i
|| They have the strongest team.
|| (Possession) / they all / the / team (litt. group of people) / strong
| Tē… nei
|| present continuous
Tē manako nei au i te 'oki ki te 'are 'I am thinking of going back to the house'
Tē kata nei rātou 'They are laughing'
Kāre au e tanu nei i te pia 'I'm not planting any arrowroot'
|| Mildly imperative or exhortatory, expressing a desire, a wish rather than a strong command.
Kia vave mai! 'be quick ! (don't be long!)'
Kia viviki mai! 'be quick (don't dawdle!)'
Kia manuia! 'good luck!'
Kia rave ana koe i tēnā 'anga'anga : would you do that job;
Kia tae mai ki te anga'anga ā te pōpongi Mōnitē : come to work on Monday morning;
Teia te tātāpaka, kia kai koe : Here's the breadfruit pudding, eat up.
'ē 'eke koe ki raro : you get down;
'ē tū ki kō : stand over there
|| interdiction, don't
'Auraka rava koe e 'āmiri i teia niuniu ora, ka 'uti'uti 'ia koe : Don't on any account touch this live wire, you'll get a shock
|| indicate the negation, not, nothing, nowhere
Kāre nō te ua : It 'll not rain; Kāre a Tī tuatua : Tī doesn't have anything to say
| e… ana
|| habitual action or state
E 'aere ana koe ki te 'ura : Do you go to the dance?:
E no'o ana 'aia ki Nikao i tē reira tuātau : he used to live in Nikao at that time
|| Refers prospectively to the commencement of an action or state. Often translatable by and English future tense or "going to" construction
Ka 'īmene 'a Mere ākonei ite pō : Mary is going to sing later on tonight;
Kua kite au ē ka riri a Tere : I know (or knew) that Tere will (or would) be angry
|| translatable by an English simple past or a present tense (with adjectives)
Kua kite mai koe ia mātou : You saw us;
Kua meitaki koe ? : Are you better now?
Kua oti te tārekareka : the match is over now
Like most Polynesian languages
The Polynesian languages are a language family spoken in the region known as Polynesia. They are classified as part of the Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family. They fall into two branches: Tongic and Nuclear Polynesian. Polynesians share many cultural traits...
(Tahitian, New Zealand Māori
New Zealand Māori can refer to:* People of Māori descent* New Zealand Māori rugby union team* New Zealand Māori rugby league team* New Zealand Māori cricket team...
, Hawaiian, Samoan, …), Cook Islands Māori has two categories of possessives, the ā and ō.
Generally the ā category is used when the possessor has, or had, control of the relationship, is superior or dominant to what is owned or when the possession is considered as alienable. The ō category is used when the possessor has, or had, no control over the relationship, is subordinate or inferior to what is owned or when the possession is considered as inalienable.
The following list indicates the types of things in the different categories
– Movable property, instruments,
– Food and drink,
– Husband, wife, children, girlfriend, boyfriend,
– Animals and pets,
– People in an inferior position
Te puaka ā tērā vaine : the pig belonging to that woman;
ā Tere tamariki : Tere's children;
Kāre ā Tupe mā ika i napō : Tupe and the rest didn't get any fish last night
Tāku ; Tā'au ; Tāna ; Tā tāua ; Tā māua…. : my, mine ; your, yours ; his, her, hers, our ours…
Ko tāku vaine teia : This is my wife;
Ko tāna tāne tera : That's her husband;
Tā kotou 'apinga : your possession(s);
Tā Tare 'apinga : Tera possession(s);
– Parts of anything
– Buildings and transport
– Parents or other relatives (not husband, wife, children…)
Te 'are ō Tere : The house belonging to Tere;
ō Tere pare : Tere's hat;
Kāre ō Tina no'o anga e no'o ei : Tina hasn't got anywhere to sit;
Tōku ; Tō'ou ; Tōna ; Tō tāua ; Tō māua…: my, mine ; your, yours ; his, her, hers ; our, ours …
Ko tōku 'are teia : This is my house;
I tōku manako, kā tika tāna : In my opinion, he'll be right;
Teia tōku, tērā tō'ou : This is mine here, that's yours over there
Pia : Polynesian arrowroot
Kata : laugh at; laughter; kata 'āviri : ridicule, jeer, mock
Tanu : to plant, cultivate land
'anga'anga : work, job
Pōpongi : morning
Tātāpaka : a kind of breadfruit pudding
'ura : dance, to dance
Tuātau : time, period, season ; ē tuātau 'ua atu : forever
'īmene : to sing, song
Riri : be angry with (ki)
Tārekareka : entertain, amuse, match, game, play game
Although most words of the various dialects of Cook Islands Māori are identical, there are some variations [to be completed]
|| speak, speech
|| sweet potato
The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of...
|| 'Ingo,Ori ori,Ura
||nui, nunui, ranuinui
|| kore reka
| matu, Pete
Dictionaries, learning methods and books in Cook Islands Māori
- Cook Islands Maori Dictionary, by Jasper Buse with Raututi Taringa, edited by Bruce Biggs
Bruce Grandison Biggs became an influential figure in the academic field of Māori studies in New Zealand...
and Rangi Moeka'a, Auckland, 1995.
- A dictionary of the Maori Language of Rarotonga, Manuscript by Stephen Savage, Suva : IPS, USP in association with the Ministry of Education of the Cook Islands, 1983.
- Kai Korero : Cook Islands Maori Language Coursebook, Tai Carpentier and Clive Beaumont, Pasifika Press, 1995. (A useful learning Method with oral skills cassette)
- Cook Islands Cook Book by Taiora Matenga-Smith. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies.
- Maori Lessons for the Cook Islands, by Taira Rere. Wellington, Islands Educational Division, Department of Education, 1960.
- Conversational Maori, Rarotongan Language, by Taira Rere. Rarotonga, Government Printer. 1961.
- Some Maori Lessons, by Taira Rere. Rarotonga. Curriculum Production Unit, Department of Education. 1976.
- More Maori Lessons, by Taira Rere. Suva, University of the South Pacific
The University of the South Pacific is a public university with a number of locations spread throughout a dozen countries in Oceania. It is an international centre for teaching and research on Pacific culture and environment. USP's academic programmes are recognised worldwide, attracting students...
- Maori Spelling: Notes for Teachers, by Taira Rere. Rarotonga: Curriculum Production Unit, Education Department.1977.
- Traditions and Some Words of the Language of Danger or Pukapuka Island. Journal of the Polynesian Society
The Polynesian Society is a non-profit organization based at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, dedicated to the scholarly study of the history, ethnography, and mythology of Oceania....
- Collection of Articles on Rarotonga Language, by Jasper Buse. London: University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...
, School of Oriental and African Studies
The School of Oriental and African Studies is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the University of London...
- Manihikian Traditional Narratives: In English and Manihikian: Stories of the Cook Islands (Na fakahiti o Manihiki). Papatoetoe, New Zealand: Te Ropu Kahurangi.1988
- Te korero o Aitutaki, na te Are Korero o Aitutaki, Ministry of Cultural Development, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. 1992
- Atiu nui Maruarua : E au tua ta'ito, Vainerere Tangatapoto et al. University of South Pacific, Suva 1984. (in Maori and English)
- Learning Rarotonga Maori, by Tongi Maki'uti, Ministry of Cultural Development
Sociocultural evolution is an umbrella term for theories of cultural evolution and social evolution, describing how cultures and societies have changed over time...
, Rarotonga 1999.
- Te uri Reo Maori (translating in Maori), by Tongi Maki'uti Punanga o te reo. 1996.
- Atiu, e enua e tona iti tangata, te au tata tuatua Ngatupuna Kautai...(et al.), Suva, University of the South Pacific.1993. (Maori translation of Atiu : an island Community)
- A vocabulary of the Mangaian language by Christian, F. W. 1924. Bernice P. Bishop Bulletin 2. Honolulu, Bernice P. Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum , is a museum of history and science in the historic Kalihi district of Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu...
- E au tuatua ta'ito no Manihiki, Kauraka Kauraka
Kauraka Kauraka was a Cook Islands writer. He was born in Rarotonga, the main island of the Cooks. Kauraka studied in New Zealand, Fiji and other countries. He published six collections of poems in the English and Rarotongan languages...
, IPS, USP, Suva. 1987.