- Cook Islands Māori
Cook Islands Māori Māori Kūki 'Āirani Spoken in Cook Islands Region Cook Islands, New Zealand Ethnicity Cook Islanders Native speakers 42,669 (16,800 in Cook Islands (1979 government report)) (no date) Language family Official status Official language in Cook Islands Regulated by Kopapa Reo Language codes ISO 639-2 rar ISO 639-3 variously:
rar – Rarotonga dialect
pnh – Tongareva dialect (Penrhyn)
rkh – Rakahanga-Manihiki dialect
This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
The Cook Islands Māori language, also called Māori Kūki 'Āirani or Rarotongan, is the official language of the Cook Islands. Most 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. 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 dialect;
- Penrhyn dialect (Tongarevan);
- the Ngaputoru dialects of Atiu, Mitiaro and Mauke;
- Aitutaki dialect;
- Rarotongan dialect; and
- Mangaia dialect.
The language is regulated by the kopapa reo created in 2003.
Writing system and pronunciation
There is a debate about the standardization of the writing system. 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 Alveolar Velar Glottal Nasal m n ŋ Plosive p t k ʔ Tap ɾ Fricative f1 v s2 h3
- Present only in Manihiki
- Present only in Penrhyn
- Present only in Manihiki and Penrhyn
Front Central Back Close i iː u uː Close-mid e eː o oː Open a aː
As with most South Pacific languages, classical descriptions are generally based on the system used for Indo-European languages, especially concerning grammatical classes. Today linguists try to avoid it, considering it a form of Eurocentrism, 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.
Person Singular Dual Plural 1st inc au tāua tātou1 1st exc māua mātou2 2nd koe kōrua kōtou 3rd aia rāua rātou
- you -2 or more- and I
- they and I
Singular pronoun examples Pronoun Cook Islands Maori English Word-to-word and gloss au 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 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 Dual pronoun examples 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 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 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 ? 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
Marker Aspect Examples 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'
Kia 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 Imperative, order
'ē 'eke koe ki raro : you get down;
'ē tū ki kō : stand over there
'Auraka 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
kāre 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
Ka 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
Kua 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
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
- ā is used in speaking of
– 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);
- ō is used in speaking of
– 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]
Rarotonga Aitutaki Mangaia Ngāputoru Manihiki Tongareva English tuatua 'autara taratara Araara vananga akaiti speak, speech kūmara kū'ara kū'ara sweet potatoes kāre/kā'ore ‘āore E'i Aita, kare no, not tātā kiriti tātā write 'ura koni 'ura 'Ingo,Ori ori,Ura dance 'akaipoipo 'akaipoipo 'ā'āipoipo 'akaipoipo fakaipoipo wedding 'īkoke koroio rakiki thin 'are 'are 'are 'are fare hare house ma'ata 'atupaka ngao nui, nunui, ranuinui kore reka polia big matu, Pete Ngenengene Pori Pori fat
- 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://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)
- Ethnologue on the languages of the Cook Islands
- Collected songs and legends from the southern Cook Islands (c. 1883–1912) at the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
Dictionaries, learning methods and books in Cook Islands Māori
- 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 Tongi Maki'uti, Ministry of Cultural Development, 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.
- E au tuatua ta'ito no Manihiki, Kauraka Kauraka, IPS, USP, Suva. 1987.
Languages of Oceania Sovereign states Dependencies and
- American Samoa
- Christmas Island
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands
- Cook Islands
- Easter Island
- French Polynesia
- New Caledonia
- Norfolk Island
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Pitcairn Islands
- Wallis and Futuna
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.