27 Jul 2004

New Zealand education authorities introduce a Cook Islands Maori curriculum

5:40 pm on 27 July 2004

The New Zealand Education Minister Trevor Mallard says people from the community will play a role in the new Cook Islands Maori curriculum launched today.

Mr Mallard says the curriculum is the result of six years work after statistics had shown less than 20 percent of children under the age of five could speak their own language.

He says Cook Islands Maori comprise the second largest Pacific ethnic group in New Zealand and it's important that their language is sustained.

The new curriculum will be available throughout New Zealand but Mr Mallard expects interest initially in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

He says to teach the curriculum the Ministry can call on a number of New Zealand and Cook Islands trained teachers.

"but what also happens is that members of the community, because they value their language so much, sometimes come into schools to give teachers a hand, in order to work through pronunciation and other curriculum issues"