Sunday, April 14, 2024

Past key to future for Tokelau language

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the past is the key to building and sustaining Gagana Tokelau.

This year’s theme for Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau – Tokelau Language Week 2022 focuses on Halahala ki vavau, kae ke mau ki pale o Tokelau or translated to English, ‘To plan is to understand the past’.

“To preserve our language, it is important we know and understand our past as this will give our communities in Aotearoa the confidence and ability to plan and work together in harmony for the sustainability of Gagana Tokelau,” Minister Sio said.

“According to the 2018 Census, of the 8,676 Tokelau population currently residing in Aotearoa New Zealand, 23% speak te Gagana Tokelau – a decrease of 14% since the 2006 Census

“I want to assure our Pacific communities that we hear you on language . We hear the passion and commitment you have for our languages. We hear the call for better pathways in our education system that draw on our Pacific languages as keys to success.

“That’s why this Government invested $20m from Budget 2021 to support Pacific bilingual units. 

“The theme for the last Pacific Language Week of 2022 connects to the overall theme for this year’s Pacific language weeks of sustainability, and the launch of the UNESCO Decade of Indigenous languages. 

“It is up to us to get behind building Gagana Tokelau and developing it for future generations to use, starting with Tokelau Language Week.

“But Tokelauans in Aotearoa won’t be alone in this challenge,” he said.

The Government’s recently announced Pacific Language Strategy commits a whole-of-government­ approach to ensure that Pacific languages flourish, thrive and prosper in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

“I would also like to say a massive fakafetai lahi lele to everyone for working together to support the Pacific Language Weeks series, and the revival and survival of Pacific languages, which are key to not only our identity but wellbeing,” said Mr Sio.

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