Cook Islands Maori Language resources will be available at the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ Path to Market Auckland 2019 showcase at Auckland’s The Cloud on Saturday April 6. KukiTime 4 Kids owner Phoebe Happ created her own language resources to help local children in the Cook Islands improve their confidence in speaking their native language.

More than 40 Pacific Island businesses have been invited to the PTI Path to Market 2019 which includes a one-day Expo of products at The Cloud.

Back in 2014, Ms Happ struggled to find suitable resources to help her in her role as a voluntary teacher. Children weren’t interested in learning the Cook Islands Maori language.  Out of necessity having few Cook Island language resources, Ms Happ decided to create her own.

She started translating nursery rhymes into Cook Islands Maori and made a collection of popular songs from the radio that children liked. Daughter Kura sang songs for the CD in English and Cook Island Maori to help children understand and enjoy them more.

Skip forward a little, Ms Happ, her daughter Kura and friend Lily Henry started fortnightly Kuki Time sessions at the local school Apii Nikao.  The sessions included live performance aspects singing songs from the CD, dancing, and acting along with the cultural aspects of the Cook Islands Maori language.

The upbeat sessions of Zumba and dance to songs sung in Cook Islands Maori and other popular songs from the radio left children more energetic, moving and enjoying themselves, Ms Happ told the Cook Islands News in July 2018. But watching children learning Cook Islands Maori over time was very rewarding Ms Happ said.

As a result of attending the KukiTime sessions children became less reserved and more confident.

Ms Happ also met with the Ministry of Education to try and get the Kuki Time educational resources included into the primary school curriculum.

Each school is also gifted with CDs and resources as “a fantastic way for the kids to dedicate more learning towards it and continue to help their language skills,” Ms Happy told the CINews. She wanted to give the children many fun ways to learn their language.

“The kids are the guardians of the language,” she said.

For more information please contact Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on

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