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Handy Words in
Cook Islands Maori


Cook Islanders speak very fluent English, courtesy of a long history of closeness to New Zealand, but their native tongue is Cook Islands Maori.

As with travel in any country (except maybe France) the locals do appreciate a few words in their own language - it shows you are making an effort.

For New Zealanders the language of the Cooks will be easy to pick up as it is very similar to Maori.

I found myself wandering around the place saying "Kia Orana" a lot and it was surprising how well it was received, certainly much more tha I thought it would be.

Kia Orana is used like "hello", although it means "May you live long" or "Have a long life". It's a bit loose for an exact translation.

Once I'd got comfortable with that I tried "thank you", which is Meitaki.

Other useful words are:

Aere Ra - Goodbye
Ae - Yes
Kare - No
Kai - Food
Manea - Pretty, or Handsome

I've had a good look around the internet for extra words that could prove useful but there isn't a lot of info about so if you know more please let us know by emailing us at tikitour@tikitouring.co.nz.

- Richard Moore



Copyright 2011 RICHARD MOORE