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NZers urged to embrace Samoan Language Week

Press Release – New Zealand Government

New Zealanders are being encouraged to embrace Samoan Language Week (31st May to 5th June) and learn a few words and phrases as part of our country’s growing diversity, says Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Georgina te Heuheu.Hon Georgina te Heuheu

Minister of Pacific Island Affairs

New Zealanders urged to embrace Samoan Language Week

New Zealanders are being encouraged to embrace Samoan Language Week (31st May to 5th June) and learn a few words and phrases as part of our country’s growing diversity, says Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Georgina te Heuheu.

“Samoan Language Week recognises and celebrates New Zealand’s third most spoken language after English and Te Reo Maori,” Mrs te Heuheu said.

“It provides an opportunity for all New Zealanders to acknowledge and support the language and culture of our fifth largest population.”

Instituted by the Human Rights Commission four years ago, the theme for 2010 is “O le Tatou gagana Samoa i Niu Sila – Our Samoan language in New Zealand”.

Between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, the number of multi-lingual people in Aotearoa increased by 19.5 per cent to reach 671,658 people. With a population of over 130,000, Samoan is the most spoken Pacific language. It is the third most spoken language in New Zealand overall, and the second most spoken language in Manukau City after English.

“The Samoan community has made a significant contribution to the Pacification of New Zealand and will continue to do so. Samoan Language Week is something for us all to enjoy,” Mrs te Heuheu said.

The Minister reinforced the Government’s commitment to promoting Pacific languages and cultures and observed that this was one of the Government’s priorities.

She added that one of the positives from promoting Pacific languages like Samoan was that slowly but surely, the language seeps into the Kiwi psyche, just as Maori words and phrases today have become commonplace.

”I encourage New Zealanders to support the Samoan language and culture as a way of recognising and embracing our nation’s growing diversity, and to attend events around the country celebrating Samoan Language Week, where they can.”

“O le Tatou gagana Samoa i Niu Sila – Our Samoan language in New Zealand.”

Information on events can be found at www.hrc.co.nz .

ENDS

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