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Rotuma and Kiribati joins Pacific language week celebrations in NZ

News 9 Mar 2020

The Pacific Language Weeks, an initiative spearheaded by New Zealand's Ministry for Pacific Peoples is entering its 11th year with Rotuma and Kiribati Language Week set to make its official debut.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio says the Pacific languages enriches New Zealand's cultural capital.

"Last year's celebrations of the 2019 United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, not only illuminated the value of the languages and the cultures of indigenous peoples all around the world, but it also boosted the confidence of Pacific youth, who proudly stood as a beacon of light to show the world that they too treasure their legacy of diverse Pacific languages in Aotearoa." Minister Sio says.

Minister Sio also said the New Zealand government Wellbeing Budget works in partnership with the Pacific communities and the minister to maintain Pacific language programmes and other related initiatives for the next generation.

"Pacific peoples must lead this work with confidence, and also use our cultural values such as collective action to also promote our languages, not just amongst Pacific communities, but nationwide and in partnership with all New Zealanders."

"Our languages need to be recognised and valued in our schools, community halls, our workplaces and in all areas of our lives."

"That relationship between heritage and language is critical for our voice, the voice of Pacific Aotearoa, to thrive and survive."

"For this reason, our languages are a vital bridge between our place in Aotearoa New Zealand and our heritage as peoples of the vast Blue Pacific continent. They are key part of our individual and community wellbein."

The Pacific Language Week series started in 2010 with Samoan Language Week and have since grown year after year, promoting and raising awareness of the diversity of Pacific languages and cultures within New Zealand.

The 2020 Language Weeks line-up begins with Rotuma Language Week in May and ends with Tokelau Language Week in October.

NZ Pacific Language Week Dates:

  • Rotuma Language Week: Sunday 10 May – Saturday 16 May 2020
  • Samoa Language Week: Sunday 24 May – Saturday 30 May 2020
  • Kiribati Language Week: Sunday 12 July – Saturday 18 July 2020
  • Cook Islands Language Week: Sunday 2 August – Saturday 8 August 2020
  • Tonga Language Week: Sunday 6 September – Saturday 12 September 2020
  • Tuvalu Language Week: Sunday 27 September – Saturday 3 October 2020
  • Fijian Language Week: Sunday 4 October – Saturday 10 October 2020
  • Niue Language Week: Sunday 18 October – Saturday 24 October 2020
  • Tokelau Language Week: Sunday 25 October – Saturday 31 October 2020

Images: Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio attending Rotuma language week celebrations last year. Source: Mairani Rotuman Group Auckland