The launch of a Pacific Languages Unit is a milestone for Pacific communities in New Zealand, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said.
He said the Pacific Languages Unit brings together a new set of language supports within the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to provide advice, commission research, maintain standards, promote language use and fund community initiatives.
“This unit is the result of the Government delivering on its commitment from Budget 2019 Vote Pacific of more than $20 million over a four-year period. It is also the result of extensive community engagement throughout 2018,” said Minister Sio.
“We know all available support is needed if Pacific languages are to thrive in Aotearoa.
“The Languages Unit is already proving its value by being a keystone for our communities, and the work that’s needed to increase language speakers.”
Around 544 community projects have been funded through the Community Languages Fund (previously Languages Innovative fund), the Provider Languages Fund as well as the Pacific Language Week series which supported nine language weeks.
“This is an investment of $3.9 million for Pacific Education Centre’s language initiatives over four years (2019 – 2023) to provide free community Pacific languages courses online.
“Nearly $2 million in total funding has been invested in supporting community language initiatives, that range from developing language resources; ethnic specific workshops; bilingual workshops; ethnic language specific workshops.
“Language revitalisation requires integrated, coherent, and multifaceted approaches for success. ‘O le tele o sulu e maua ai figota’ – ‘Through collaboration we can overcome the most difficult challenges and ensure success for our communities’ aspirations.’
“The Pacific Languages Unit will prove integral to the success of our collaborative efforts to revitalise, protect and sustain our beautiful Pacific languages,” the Minister said.