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Laban: Launch of I-E-KO-KO!

1 July 2008 Speech

Launch of I-E-KO-KO! An Introduction to Cook Islands Māori

Kia orana tatou katoatoa.

To tatou reo, kua riro teia aei apii ia tatou, e akamarama-anga ito tatou manako.

Te aka-ari ia tatau ruru kia okotai, pera katoa I te angai anga ia tatou, ite au tu marama ia tauturu ia tatou. (Translation: Language helps us to express our thoughts. It identifies us, binds us together and provides us with a means of understanding each other.)

Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Ni sa bula vinaka, Namaste, Ia Orana, Gud de tru olgeta, Taloha ni, Talofa, Kia ora tatou and Warm Pacific Greetings to you all this morning.

Thank you for your kind introduction. I would firstly like to pass on apologies and best wishes from Education Minister Chris Carter, who is unable to be here this morning. Chris had hoped to launch I-E-Ko-Ko himself but has asked that pass on his congratulations and thanks for this important resource, encouraging students to learn new skills and a language that reflects the richness and diversity of New Zealand's National Identity.

I would like to acknowledge Karen Sewell, Secretary of Education, who joins us this morning. Also Lesieli Tongati'o, Pule Maata Pasifika and Prue Kyle, Manager of Professional Learning at the Ministry of Education. I would also like to thank Pastor Teremoana Tauira for our prayer and blessing.

A new learning resource is always a good reason to celebrate. So I am very pleased to be here to launch a new multi-media language tool for teachers and students to learn Cook Islands Māori as an additional language in Years 7 and 8.

Learning resources like I-E-Ko-Ko have a valuable part to play in supporting today’s students so they can learn in ways that will prepare them for the future.

Importance of additional languages
Knowing where we are from and who we are is an important part of that journey and is an important part of the Government’s Schools Plus vision for our young people.

We want young people to have the opportunity to gain skills that will help them to flourish in a global workforce.

And language is one of the most important tools that we can master to help us become truly global citizens.
That is why the Labour-led government is a strong advocate and supporter of second language teaching and learning in New Zealand schools.

The resource we are launching today joins the Learning Languages Series already being successfully implemented in our schools.

They include: Hai! An Introduction to Japanese; Si! An Introduction to Spanish; Oui! An Introduction to French; Ja! An Introduction to German; Hao! An Introduction to Chinese and Ka Mau te Wehi! An Introduction to Te Reo Māori.

The focus is on teachers and students both being learners; the language and culture being taught; a communicative approach; community support and links; sustainability, quality and access.

I-E-KO-KO! An Introduction to Cook Islands Māori provides opportunities for any student to learn Cook Islands Māori in our schools.

At the same time, it provides teachers who are both speakers and non-speakers of Cook Islands Māori with excellent practical tools and frameworks to use in the planning and delivery of quality Cook Islands Māori language learning programmes.

Language helps us to express our thoughts. It identifies us, binds us together and provides us with a means of understanding each other.

Resources such as I-E-KO-KO! An Introduction to Cook Islands Māori will make a positive contribution to lifting the profile of this Pacific language and encourage more learners and users of Cook Islands Māori.

Importance for Pasifika students
New Zealand is a Pacific country with Pacific culture and languages becoming increasingly important in the way New Zealanders see themselves.

Resources like I-E-Ko-Ko acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of our cultures and languages in the school curriculum, linking directly with the Pasifika Education Plan.

Through the Pasifika Education Plan, the Labour-led government is committed to raising educational participation and achievement for Pasifika students. The focus is on ensuring that our Pasifika students are at school, interested and actively participating in learning, and increasing the effectiveness of teaching for Pasifika students.

I-E-Ko-Ko is an important resource for our Pasifika students, as a means to encourage increased engagement of students in learning a Pacific language and improving effectiveness of teaching for Pasifika students through up-skilling teachers in Cook Islands Māori proficiency and second language teaching methodologies.

We want the number of New Zealanders able to speak an additional language, particularly their native tongue, to increase. I-E-Ko-Ko is am important resource in encouraging the use of Cook Islands Māori in both the classroom and in everyday life.

It complements the work being done by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs to help preserve and protect the Cook Islands Māori language through the Mind Your Language project.

Mind Your Language was introduced in response to low rates of language retention amongst our Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau communities in New Zealand.

The focus is on making learning fun. For generations back in the islands our Mamas and Papas have been passing on knowledge and language orally to our young ones.

For our Pasifika students, I-E-Ko-Ko like Mind your Language allows this learning to continue here in New Zealand by learning the languages of forebears, and through this share in the history and stories of their people.

To everyone who has contributed to this resource either as a writer, or by providing language and cultural advice and expertise – meitaki ma’ata.

I also acknowledge the people involved with the filming of the DVDs both here in Aotearoa New Zealand and in Rarotonga, and the schools who took part in the trialling of the print material – meitaki ma’ata.

Kia orana e kia manuia.


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