The historic occasion was conducted to celebrate Cook Islands Language Week in New Zealand.
The prayer was recited by National Party Member of Parliament Alfred Ngaro, the first Cook Islander to be elected to the New Zealand parliament.
“Today we made history. For the first time ever, the parliamentary prayer was presented in a foreign language,” Ngaro said on his Facebook page.
“I had the privilege of reading the prayer in Cook Island Maori to celebrate Cook Island language week – and yes, we included the name of the Lord’s son Jesus! (Iesu Mesia).”
Cook Islands Language Week started in New Zealand on Sunday (CI time), under the theme, ‘Be proud of your language and protect its future’.
The theme was chosen because the language is at risk, with Cook Islands Maori currently classified as a vulnerable language by UNESCO.
In a statement, New Zealand’s Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, said that “this is a very pertinent theme for Cook Islanders because use of the language is declining and its future is under threat”.
“New Zealand has an important part to play in protecting the future of the language because there are more people of Cook Islands descent in New Zealand than the Cook Islands.”