The University of Auckland's Centre for Pacific Studies will this month launch a unique text,
The launch of the textbook coincides with the announcement that The University of Auckland will next year offer the country's first paper on Cook Islands Conversational Maori. The University's Centre for Pacific Studies will soon appoint a permanent lecturer to teach the course, which will be offered in alternate semesters starting in March 2009.
Te Pepe Kuri Airani is the work of the late Taria Kingstone, who lectured in Cook Islands Maori at the University from 2003 until his death in 2006. The textbook has been revised, edited and prepared for publication by his colleagues.
In his introduction to the book, Taria describes the work as his "baby" and expresses the wish that it would be a common point of reference for the Cook Islands "megafamily".
For Taria, the language of the Cook Islands reflects an "exciting, hard-case, expressive, humorous, passionate and never-a-dull-moment world" that could not be accessed in any other language.
Introducing the book, Professor John Morrow, Dean of the University's Faculty of Arts, notes that Taria Kingstone had immense dedication to the practice of language teaching, and was known for his imaginative use of learning materials for students. Fluent in Cook Islands Maori, English and French, Taria had also studied seven other languages and had an immense appetite for all linguistic knowledge.
"It makes perfect sense for the University to be offering the country's inaugural paper on Cook Islands Conversational Maori, given that 90 percent of Cook Islanders in New Zealand live in Auckland," says Associate Professor Richard Moyle, Head of the Centre for Pacific Studies. "NZ Census figures show the percentage of native Cook Islanders who are conversant in their native language is low, especially when compared with languages such as Samoan. Clearly, the need for this course is strong," he says.
Te Pepe Kuri Airani A Beginner's Guide to Cook Islands Maori will be launched from 2:30-4pm on 26 September at the University's Fale Pasifika (20 Wynyard Street).