In the 1950s Donald Marshall began collecting data for a dictionary of the language of Mangaia. He consulted a group of elders to collect the headwords, writing each word on a separate file card with its English equivalent(s). There are probably 9000 file cards. Marshall’s dictionary was not completed and never published, but the file cards were kept and donated by the Marshall family to USP Cook Islands. Initially these will be the basis for this online dictionary.

The hand-written cards have been typed into a spreadsheet and then checked by Mangaian speakers before being loaded onto this website.

Once Marshall’s dictionary is complete online it is hoped that further refinements and new entries can be added. It will also be possible to publish a print version of the dictionary.

Dictionary Committee

The original Mangaia Dictionary Committee of 1958, called “The Lingusitic Group” comprised – (photo)

Back row - left to right
  • Perua Mautairi then aged 27
  • Ma’arateina Atatoa , Head Teacher of the Mangaia Junior High School, then aged 33
  • Teata, son of Ma’arona, then aged 42
  • Donald S. Marshall, American anthropologist
Middle row – left to right
  • Pokino Apera'ama, Legislative Councillor and trader and former school teacher, then aged 42
  • Ngatupuna Puri Matepi Legislative Councillor and trader and former school teacher
  • Ma’arona, the pava of Veitatei , a noted orator, then aged 66
  • Reverend William Marsters , orometua, Palmerston, then aged 35
Front row – left to right
  • Teokotai Rere, school teacher,then aged 36;
  • Turaratoru Pekepo, school teacher, then aged 31
  • Arakua, School Teacher, Mauke, then aged 31

Digitization of Marshal's card index was undertaken by Ms. Tania Smith and parts of speech added by Professor John Moorfield of Te Ipukarea, AUT University.

The current committee working to review the digitized version of Marshall’s original card index comprises

  • Ina Papatua, former school teacher
  • Peter Ngatokorua, former Principal, Mangaia College
  • Uria Mautairi, current pava of Veitatei, brother of Perua Mautairi of the original dictionary group (above)
  • Mautairi Vaine, Mrs Metuakore Mautairi, former school teacher
  • Mr Ngametua Papatua, rangatira and orometua
  • Rod Dixon, former school teacher, Mangaia College, currently Campus Director USP Cook Islands

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