Today marks the first day of Cook Islands Language Week 2015.
The theme is “to tatou reo tupuna e korona ia no to tatou matakeinanga” – our language is a crowning glory of our community.
This theme reflects the contribution the Cook Islands language and culture make to New Zealand's society.
Pacific Peoples Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says “When you are in the community you understand the Pacific influence in New Zealand’s culture,”
“Language is at the core of Pacific people’s identity. Cook Islands Language Week reminds us of this and why it is important to celebrate our Pacific cultures.”
In New Zealand, Cook Islanders make up about 22% of the population. This means there are more living here than in the Cook Islands.
62,000 people in total identify themselves as Cook Islanders. Less than 13% of New Zealand-born Cook Islanders speak Cook Island Māori.
This year also marks 50 years since it became self governing in free association with New Zealand.
For more information on Cook Islands Language Week 2015, you can visit the Facebook page.