Te reo Māori Kūki “Āirani
The maori of the islands Cook




The maori of the islands Cook ( Te reo Māori Kūki “Āirani ), called sometimes wrongly rarotongien, is with the English, the common language of most of the archipelago of Cook. It belongs to under group of the Polynesian Langues of the family of the Langues austronésiennes. Its closer relationships among the Polynesian languages are those of Eastern Polynesia and more particularly the Tahitien , the maori of New Zealand, the Paumotu (language of Tuamotu), grated it harmed (language of the Easter Island and to a lesser extent the Hawaïen and the Marquisien

Official statute

The maori is since 2003 and the " Reo Maori Act" , the Official language of the Cook islands with English. According to, this law which also instituted the " Kopapa reo maori ", i.e. the " Commission with the Maori" language; , maori means: * the language maori (and its various dialectal alternatives) such as she is spoken and written on the various islands of the archipelago of Cook

Pukapuka such as it is spoken and written on Pukapuka

the maori conforms to the national standard approved by Kopapa Reo

Dialectal alternatives

There exist several dialectal alternatives of Maori. In addition to the rarotongien itself spoken on the island about Rarotonga, one distinguishes the dialects from Rakahanga - Manihiki, of Ngaputoru which gathers the three islands of Atiu, Mauke and Mitiaro, of Mangaia, Aitutaki and Penrhyn (reo tongareva) The language of Pukapuka is for reasons related to the settlement of the island, generally considered by the linguists closer to the Samoan and the spoken languages on the three atolls of Tokelau.

The standard maori or to be honest in the process of standardization, is strongly inspired by the dialect rarotongien, even if it integrates more and more vocabulary of the other islands of the archipelago, would be this only owing to the fact that nowadays a great number of inhabitants of Rarotonga even are originating in the other islands.

Below some examples of variations of vocabulary enters the various dialects of Maori. According to the dictionary of Tube and Taringa, there exists in all about fifty words having étymons truly different, the remainder being related to alternatives of pronunciations (IE kumara/ku' macaw; kare/ka' ore/'a' ore). To note that 'akaipoipo… is a loan with the tahitien " fa' aipoipo" dating from the time missionary and introduction from the marriage

The maori is composed of 14 phonemes (19 if one takes account of the lengthening of the 5 vowels).


It comprises 9 consonants: ng, m, N, p, T, K, R, v. and the Glottale ( amata ) represented by an apostrophe in the C-W communication recommended by the kopapa reo (" commission with the language maori"). Are added the " to it; f" and the " h" in the dialectal alternative of Rakahanga-Manihiki and the " s" and the " h" in that of Penrhyn (reo tongareva). These sonorities replace the majority of the glottales other dialects.


The vowels are 5: has, E, I, O, U Each perhaps short or lengthened vowel. Lengthening is noted there still in the C-W communication recommended by the macron ( makaroni ): a, e, i, o, u

Written form

Apart from some documents of a didactic nature (dictionaries, methods of language), the glottale and the macron are generally never noted in the writings of the every day, the majority of the speakers estimating these two graphemes useless. The question makes remainder more or less debate at present.

The controversy rests on two logics which are opposed. For the partisans of the reform of the writing, the notation of these two sonorities proves to be essential in the optics of the teaching of the maori in the archipelago. Neglected a long time to the profit of English, this one was indeed given to the day order since 1965. However, so for the majority of the native speakers, the relevant pronunciation of the glottale and vocalic lengthening is done in a spontaneous way, their notation consequently becoming useless, it is not the same for the majority of young people or the expatriates of the second generation whose language first is from now on English. With that is added for the opponents to the reform, the more or less acknowledged idea which it would be to some extent about a treason even of a corruption of the biblical word. Very attached to the Christian values, the Bible remains indeed for Maori of the islands cook the ultimate reference the more so as it constitutes the first work written in this language of oral tradition. However the missionaries who translated the Bible, noted neither the glottale nor vocalic lengthening. Other " not dit" but which plays a big role in this reserve is the fact that this new written form was imported by New Zealand linguists and administrators. People are in the Cook islands very attached to their independence.

The first to use this new written form was indeed Stephen Savage within the framework of its dictionary published on a purely posthumous basis in 1962. Thereafter, other authors (Will conceal Rere, Kauraka Kauraka…) chose an intermediate solution by duplicating the vowel for vocalic lengthening (" aa" ; " ee" …) and by noting the glottale only in the event of risk of misunderstanding on the significance of a mot.



Although most words of the various dialects of Cook Islands Maori are identical, there are some variations
















speak, speech







sweet potatoes




Aita, kare



no, not











'Ingo,Ori ori,Ura




























nui, nunui, ranuinui

kore reka



matu, Pete



Pori Pori





Should you want to explore speaking another language, here are some common words and useful phrases in Cook Islands Mãori:

Good Morning - põpongi
Good Night - põ manea, põ meitaki
Have a nice day - rã mãnea
Good bye - ‘aere ra
Come here - ‘aere mai
Thank you - meitaki
Thank you very much - meitaki ma‘ata
You are beautiful - te mãnea ‘iakoe

What is... your name? - ko‘ai tõ‘ou ingoa?
the time? - ‘ea‘a teora?

Where is... the bus stop? - tei‘ea te ngai tãp~u anga o te bus?
the hospital? - tei‘ea te are maki?
the museum? - tei‘ea te are vairanga apinga takere?
the library? - tei‘ea te are vairanga puka tatau?
the bank? - tei‘ea te pangika?
the market? - tei‘ea te makete?
the church? - tei‘ea te are pure?
where are going? - ka aere koe k~i‘ea

How much... is this? - ‘~e‘ia teia?
does this cost? - ‘e‘ia moni i teia?
is the cup of coffee - ‘~e‘ia moni i te kapu kaope?

How old are you? - ‘~e‘ia õ‘ou mata‘iti?
Can you help me? - ka rauka ãinei ia koe i te tauturu mai iãku?
Is it safe to swim here? - ka meitaki ãinei te pa‘~i tai i konei?
Can I have a drink? - ka tika ãinei kia inu au i te vai?

I only speak a little Cook Islands Maori - meangiti ua taku tuatua maori ka kite
I don't speak any Cook Island Maori - kãreau e kite meitaki i te tuatua maori

Counting 1-10
tai, rua, toru, ‘ã, rima, ono, itu, varu, iva, ta‘i nga‘uru

Useful words
Yes - ‘ãe
No - kãre
Stop - tãp~u
Flower - tiare
Food - kai (Rarotonga word for food), mãnga (-over the first a) (Ngaputoru an Aitutaki word for food)
Book - puka
Water - vai
Girl - tamãi‘ne
Pretty girl - tama‘ine maneã
Woman/wife - vaine
Pretty woman - va‘ine manea
Boy - tamaiti
Man/husband - tãne

Happy - mataora
Dance - ‘ura
Let's dance - ka ‘ura tãua
Happy - mataora
Feast - umukai
Tomorrow - ãpõpõ
Moon - marama
Ocean - moana
Maunga - mountain European/foreigner - papa‘a
Plane - pa‘irere




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