4 Aug 2015

Sewing, strumming and swaying to promote Cook Islands Maori

1:49 pm on 4 August 2015

Needlework, ukelele, and dance workshops are being held throughout New Zealand to promote Cook Islands Maori.

Te epetoma o te reo Maori Kuki Airani or Cook Islands language week is one of six held by the Ministry for Pacific Island Affairs to recognise the contribution Pacific cultures make to New Zealand society.

About 62,000 people in New Zealand identify as Cook Islanders but less than 13 percent of New Zealand born Cook Islanders can speak the language.

An Auckland school, Southern Cross Campus, has 1600 students and has offered Cook Islands Maori as a subject for the past five years.

The principal, Robin Staples, says it is not just about learning words.

"That's the heritage of our students and it's been important that we do that so that their identity is enhanced as they grow up and understand who they are."

A variety of events are scheduled for this week including Tivaevae quilting workshops, ura dance and ukelele workshops with a full schedule available on the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs website.

Tivaevae Cook Islands

Tivaevae master, Tepaeru Tearoa, points out the hand stitched embroidery on a tivaevae. Photo: RNZ Daniela Maoate-Cox

For more information

Cook Islands Language Week Schedule

Cook Islands Maori Language Week on Facebook

Cook Island Maori Dictionary