‘Be proud of your language and protect its future’
‘Be proud of your language and protect its future’ is the theme of this year’s Cook Islands Language Week, which will run from Sunday, 29 July to Saturday, 4 August, 2018. It was officially launched by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio at Te Hapua Halswell Centre in Christchurch on Saturday 28 July at 11 am.
“This is a very pertinent theme for Cook Islanders because use of the language is declining and its future is under threat,” said Sio.
Cook Islands Māori is currently classified by UNESCO as a vulnerable language. This means that while most children speak the language, usage is restricted largely to specific locations such as Church, or in the home.
It’s vital that the future of Cook Islands Māori, as part of our Pacific language heritage, is protected. This is part of the Language Week held to raise awareness of a certain culture and increase the usage of their language.
“Almost 62,000 people identified as Cook Islanders in the latest New Zealand census while the Cook Islands population was just over 17,000. The last census also indicates that language use has dropped from 17.8% to 13.1% amongst those identifying as Cook Islanders and that’s a trend I want to see reversed,” said Sio.
The Ministry has worked with the Cook Islands Development Agency New Zealand (CIDANZ) and the Christchurch Cook Islands community to make this year’s Cook Islands Language Week possible.