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The consonants are k, m, n, p, r, t, v and ng. The ng is pronounced like the ng in ping pong. Consonants are always followed by a vowel and there are never two consonants together. Ng is considered one letter. Every Maori word ends in a vowel. If the word ends in a consonant it has been converted from some other language.
Many Cook Islanders speak and understand english, especially younger people who learn to speak/read/write bilingually in schools. Here are a few phrases that might come in handy.
Greetings: When you see some one you say Kia Orana (Long may you live) and the response is the same.
How are you? 'Pe'ea koe'? The response if you are good is 'meitaki'.
An interesting fact is that the Cook Island Maori language doesn't have a word for thank you. Meitaki is now used for thank you but it actually means good as shown above.
You may hear someone refer to you as a papa'a. If you were to ask most people what that means they will say foreigner or white person. Actually, it literally means four layers. Papa is layer and a is the number four. When the first sailors came ashore in the 1600s they started peeling off all their clothes because of the heat. Thus - four layers. It is not considered a derogatory term.