Rakahanga-Manihiki language

Native to Cook Islands
Region Rakahanga and Manihiki islands
Native speakers
320 in the Cook Islands (2011 census)[1]
2,500 in New Zealand, based on a cited population of 5,000 (1981) being half in Cook Islands and half in New Zealand[2]
Official status
Official language in
Cook Islands
Regulated by Kopapa Reo
Language codes
ISO 639-3 rkh
Glottolog raka1237[3]

Rakahanga-Manihiki is a Cook Islands Maori dialectal variant[4] belonging to the Polynesian languages family, spoken by about 2500 people on Rakahanga and Manihiki Islands (part of the Cook Islands) and another 2500 in other countries, mostly New Zealand and Australia. Wurm and Hattori consider Rakahanga-Manihiki as a distinct language with "limited intelligibility with Rarotongan"[5] (i.e. the Cook Islands Maori dialectal variant of Rarotonga). According to the New Zealand Maori anthropologist Te Rangi Hīroa who spent few days on Rakahanga in the years 1920, "the language is a pleasing dialect and has closer affinities with [New Zealand] Maori than with the dialects of Tongareva, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands"[6]


  1. Rakahanga-Manihiki at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Rakahanga-Manihiki at Ethnologue (13th ed., 1996).
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Rakahanga-Manihiki". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. "Reo Maori Act" (2003)
  5. Wurm and Hattori,"atlas of Pacific area" (1981), the only source of the SIL and ISO 639-3 codification
  6. "Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga", Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1932. This book was the source of Wurm and Hattori Atlas

Indicative bibliography

Rakahanga-Manihiki language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator

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