1 Aug 2016

"Embrace the reo" - Cooks' High Commissioner

9:38 am on 1 August 2016

The Cook Islands High Commissioner in New Zealand says Cook Island Maori there should take every opportunity to embrace their language.

Wellington's Te Punanga O Te Reo Kuki Airani.

Wellington's Te Punanga O Te Reo Kuki Airani Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Seven Pacific Island language weeks are held each year in New Zealand, and Cook Islands language week starts today.

Its theme was ensuring the survival of the language by embracing ones heritage.

Four Cook Island Maori dialects are listed as either vulnerable or endangered by UNESCO, and of 62,000 people who identify as Cook Island Maori in New Zealand only 13 percent can speak the language.

The High Commissioner Teremoana Yala said language week was a good time to try.

"You might be one of those born in New Zealand, raised in New Zealand, and kind of like 'I don't know', but you just don't know how you will be motivated to pick up where you want to strengthen yourself in your own heritage and move on from there and make it better."

Teremoana Yala said there were many events at various times of the day to fit in with people's schedules.