The Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand is urging people not to be afraid to take part in Cook Islands language week.
Seven Pacific Island language weeks are held each year in New Zealand and this week for the Cook Islands' language runs till August 6th.
Four Cook Island Maori dialects are listed as either vulnerable or endangered by UNESCO and out of the 62,000 people identifying as Cook Island Maori in New Zealand only 13 percent can speak the language.
This year's theme is embracing ones heritage and the Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand Teremoana Yala told Daniela Maoate-Cox that that can be done in many ways.
TEREMOANA YALA: Heritage is very wide and very broad so it really covers all of who you are as a Cook Islander and that's all aspects, culturally, spiritually, and I know throughout Aotearoa, there's all kinds of activities going on and embrace it. That is your heritage, whether it be in the crafts, tivaevae, whether it be like in Palmerston North they've got language nests up there, there's four this year, dealing with different ages, you know embrace it. And whether it be just sitting and listening to our elderly, I'm about to record an elderly Papa down here in Wellington to tell me all the stories he knows of his father going to World War One, and so all of these interactions with our people with our children is all part of our heritage. So while it's on, get out there and get involved, because if you're working in the morning, there's something going on in the afternoon
or the evening so get out there and embrace it. We've been labelled as a dying language, Cook Islands, But I'm very happy to see that within the last couple of years there's a lot more activities, there's a lot more motivation going on with our people, and that's got to be good.
DANIELA MAOATE-COX: Even if it's just a little bit, don't be afraid to go and take part.
TY: Definitely, you never know, you might be one of those sitting on the fence. You might be one of those born in New Zealand, raised in New Zealand, and kind of like 'I don't know', but you just don't know how you will be motivated to pick up where you want to strengthen yourself in your own heritage and move on from there and make it better.
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