Cook Islands Māori
|Cook Islands Māori|
|Māori, Maori Kuki Airani, Māori Kūki 'Āirani|
|Native to||Cook Islands, New Zealand|
|13,620 in Cook Islands, 96% of ethnic population (2011 census)|
7,725 in New Zealand, 12% of ethnic population (2013) 
Official language in
|Regulated by||Kopapa Reo|
|ELP||Southern Cook Islands Maori|
Cook Islands Māori is an Eastern Polynesian language that is the official language of the Cook Islands. Cook Islands Māori is closely related to New Zealand Māori, but is a distinct language in its own right. Cook Islands Māori is simply called Māori when there is no need to disambiguate it from New Zealand Māori, but it is also known as Māori Kūki 'Āirani (or Maori Kuki Airani), or, controversially, Rarotongan. Many Cook Islanders 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; from 1915 until then, English had been the only official language of the Cook Islands.
Te Reo Maori Act definition
The Te Reo Maori Act 2003 states that Māori:
- (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 links).
Pukapukan is considered by scholars and speakers alike to be a distinct language more closely related to Sāmoan and Tokelauan than Cook Islands Māori. It belongs to the Samoic subgroup of the Polynesian language family. The intention behind including Pukapukan in the definition of Te Reo Maori was to ensure its protection.
- Penrhyn (Tongarevan or Mangarongaro);
- Southern: Rarotongan, Ngā Pū Toru (the dialects of Atiu, Mitiaro and Mauke), Aitutaki, Mangaia.
The language is theoretically regulated by the Kopapa Reo created in 2003, but this organisation is currently dormant.
Writing system and pronunciation
There is a debate about the standardisation of the writing system. Although the usage of the macron (־) te makarona and the glottal stop amata (ꞌ) (/ʔ/) is recommended, most speakers do not use the two diacritics in everyday writing. The Cook Islands Māori Revised New Testament uses a standardised orthography (spelling system) that includes the diacritics when they are phonemic but not elsewhere.
- Present only in Manihiki
- Present only in Penrhyn
- Present only in Manihiki and Penrhyn
|Close||i iː||u uː|
|Close-mid||e eː||o oː|
Cook Islands Māori is an isolating language with very little morphology. Case is marked by the particle that initiates a noun phrase, and like most East Polynesian languages, Cook Islands Māori has nominative-accusative case marking.
The unmarked constituent order is predicate initial: that is, verb initial in verbal sentences and nominal-predicate initial in non-verbal sentences.
- you -2 or more- and I
- they and I
|Pronoun||Cook Islands Maori||English||Word-to-word and gloss|
|au||Ka 'aere au ki te 'āpi'i āpōpō listen||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|
|koe||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.|
|aia||'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|
|Pronoun||Cook Islands Maori||English||Word-to-word and gloss|
|Tāua||'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 ko Taria ki te kāinga listen||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|
|Pronoun||Cook Islands Maori||English||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? listen||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'
|Kia||Mildly imperative or exhortatory, expressing a desire, a wish rather than a strong command.||
Kia vave mai! 'be quick ! (don't be long!)'
e 'eke koe ki raro : you get down;
Auraka rava koe e 'āmiri i tēia niuniu ora, ka 'uti'utiꞌia koe : Don't on any account touch this live wire, you'll get a shock
|kāre||indicate the negation, not, nothing, nowhere||
Kāre nō te ua : It will not rain;
|e… ana||habitual action or state||
E 'aere ana koe ki te 'ura : Do you go to the dance?:
|Ka||Refers prospectively to the commencement of an action or state. Often translatable as the English future tense or "going to" construction||
Ka imene a Mere ākonei ite pō : Mary is going to sing later on tonight;
|Kua||translatable as the English simple past or present tense (with adjectives)||
Kua kite mai koe ia mātou : You saw us;
Most of the preceding examples were taken from Cook Islands Maori Dictionary, by Jasper Buse with Raututi Taringa edited by Bruce Biggs and Rangi Moeka'a, Auckland, 1995.
Generally, the "a" category is used when the possessor has or had control over the initiation of the possessive relationship. Usually this means that the possessor is superior or dominant to what is owned, or that the possession is considered as alienable. The "o" category is used when the possessor has or had no control over the initiation of the relationship. This usually means that the possessor is subordinate or inferior to what is owned, or that the possession is considered to be inalienable.
The following list indicates the types of things in the different categories:
- a is used in speaking of
– Movable property, instruments,
– Food and drink,
– Husband, wife, children, grandchildren, girlfriend, boyfriend,
– Animals and pets, (except for horses)
– People in an inferior position
Te puaka a tērā vaꞌine : the pig belonging to that woman; ā Tere tamariki : Tere's children; Kāre ā Tupe mā ika inapō : Tupe and the rest didn't get any fish last night
Tāku ; Tāꞌau ; Tāna ; Tā tāua ; Tā māua…. : my, mine ; your, yours ; his, her, hers, our ours…
Ko tāku vaꞌine tēia : This is my wife; Ko tāna tāne tērā : That's her husband; Tā kotou ꞌapinga : your possession(s); Tā Tare ꞌapinga : Tērā possession(s);
- o is used in speaking of
– Parts of anything
– Buildings and transport (including horses)
– Parents or other relatives (not husband, wife, children…)
Te 'are o 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 tēia : This is my house; I tōku manako, ka tika tāna : In my opinion, he'll be right; Tēia 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, but there are some variations:
|kāre||kā'ore, 'ā'ore||e'i, 'āore||ꞌāita, kāre||kaua, kāre||kore||no, not|
|'ura||koni||'ura||'ingo, oriori, ꞌura||hupahupa||kosaki||dance|
|ma'ata||'atupaka||ngao||nui, nunui, ranuinui||kore reka||polia||big|
- Rarotonga at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Tongareva (Penrhyn) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Rakahanga-Manihiki at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- "2013 Census ethnic group profiles". Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- Sally Akevai Nicholas (2018). "Language Contexts: Te Reo Māori o te Pae Tonga o te Kuki Airani also known as Southern Cook Islands Māori". In Peter K. Austin; Lauren Gawne (eds.). Language Documentation and Description (PDF). 15. London: EL Publishing. p. 36-37. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
This practice conflicts with that of community members, who use the name Rarotongan to specifically refer to the variety spoken in Rarotonga. Non-Rarotongan Cook Islands Māori speakers can be offended by this conflation... Therefore, the name “Rarotongan” should be only be used to refer to the Rarotongan variety and never to Cook Islands Māori as a whole.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Te Reo Maori Act 2003". Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
- These are ‘dialects’ in the sense of having mutual intelligibility.
- Tongarevan is sometimes also considered as a distinct language.
- Cook Islands Maori Database Project, An online project created to build a collection of Cook Islands Maori Words based on existing print dictionaries and other sources.
- Cook Islands Maori Dictionary, by Jasper Buse with Raututi Taringa, edited by Bruce Biggs 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.1976
- 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 13:173-176.1904.
- Collection of Articles on Rarotonga Language, by Jasper Buse. London: University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies. 1963.
- 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 Maki'uti Tongia, Ministry of Cultural Development, Rarotonga 1999.
- Te uri Reo Maori (translating in Maori), by Maki'uti Tongia, 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.
- E au tuatua ta'ito no Manihiki, Kauraka Kauraka, IPS, USP, Suva. 1987.
|Cook Islands Māori test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
- Cook Islands Maori Database
- Dictionary of Cook Islands Languages.
- Te akataka reo Rarotonga; or, Rarotongan and English grammar by the Rev Aaron Buzacott of the London Missionary Society, Rarotonga. 1854. Old grammar in english and Rarotongan
- "Tuatua mai!" Learn Cook Islands Maori
- Te Reo Maori Act 2003
- SBS Cook Islands Maori Radio Program. Updated each week
- http://cookislands.bishopmuseum.org/dictionaries.asp Archived 2011-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
- http://www.cookislandsmaori.com/ Online version of Jasper Buse and Raututi Taringa Dictionary
- Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development
- Te Reo Māori Kūki 'Āirani i roto i te Kurakarāma o Aotearoa (Cook Islands Maori in the New Zealand Curriculum)
- Collected songs and legends from the southern Cook Islands (c. 1883–1912) at the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
- Box of 324 index cards of plant and animal names archived with Kaipuleohone
- Paradisec has an open access collection of Cook Island Maori materials
- Materials on Cook Islands Maori are included in the open access [Arthur Capell] collection (AC1) held by Paradisec.