Sunday, April 21, 2024

Say tālofa lava to Samoa Language Week

New Zealand’s most spoken Pacific language will take centre stage this week with Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoa Language Week kicking off around the country.

“Understanding and using the Samoan language across our nation is vital to its survival,” said Pacific Peoples Minister, Barbara Edmonds.

“The Samoan population in New Zealand are one of our fastest-growing populations and largest Pacific group. They represent 47.9% of all Pacific people in our country.”

Gagana Samoa is the nation’s third most spoken language – following English and Te Reo Māori, and the second most spoken language in Auckland.

“This year we’ve invested $13.3 million from Budget 2023 to implement the Pacific Languages Strategy and ensure our communities have more opportunities to hear, speak and learn our languages,” the Minister said.

“If our Pacific people have more tools and support for languages, we can ensure we preserve them for generations to come.”

The theme for 2023 Samoa Language Week is ‘Mitamita i lau gagana, maua’a lou fa’asinomaga’ which translates to ‘Be proud of your language and grounded in your identity.’

“This year, the Samoa community have been busy planning in-person and online activities around learning through music, Pacific radio, school programmes and prayer services,” said Ms Edmonds.

“During the week, we are encouraging everyone to value and use Gagana Samoa – be it our young people, families, church groups, or elders.”

She said the Leo Moana o Aotearoa Survey report, published last year by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, showed the significant role Pacific languages play in the daily lives of New Zealand communities.

“For example, 84% of Samoans believe it is important to be able to speak Gagana Samoa and 83% use digital technology, media and the internet to help them connect more to their language and culture.”

“No matter where you are on your language journey, I want to encourage everyone to speak and share our Samoan language as much as possible.”

Samoa Language Week, runs from May 28 to June 3. More information can be found on the Ministry for Pacific Peoples website.

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