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CORRECTION: PPTA takes steps to save Pasifika

Press Release – PPTA

PPTA has voted to support a national languages policy in a bid to prevent Pasifika languages from dying out. CORRECTION: PPTA takes steps to save Pasifika languages

PPTA has voted to support a national languages policy in a bid to prevent Pasifika languages from dying out.

The “Mind your language” conference paper was developed by PPTA’s Komiti Pasifika in response to the demise of Pacific Island languages among New Zealand’s Pasifika population – an issue that was raised at PPTA’s Pasifika ‘Niu Generation’ conference last year.

Paper co-author Manu Fa’aea-Semeatu said it was vital to endorse the Human Rights Commission recommendations on the establishment of a national languages policy.

“Pasifika languages are dying, the heritage languages of the Pasifika people who live, study and work in Aotearoa need our support…It is an internationally recognised right to learn one’s own heritage language,” she said.

“The Pacific Island languages in New Zealand show significant signs of language shift and loss, with several languages, especially Cook Island Maori and Niue languages, unlikely to survive unless something is done now.”

The policy emphasises the importance of gaining public and community provisions, but Fa’aea-Semeatu said government moves to cut funding to the community education centres that provided these services has seriously hampered this.

“Government bureaucracy and lack of government understanding amount to some very angry islanders,” she said.

Government agencies had done too little too late, according to Fa’aea-Semeatu. A project aimed at preserving the Cook Islands, Maori, Niuean and Tokelauan languages and promote Pacific language in schools has been axed and funding has been stopped for two Pasifika language resources for early childhood centres and schools.

“This decision shows a dangerous disregard for languages such as Cook Islands Maori, Tokelauan and Niuean, which the government should be working to help preserve for future generations…By 2025 our current students will be responsible for our nation’s economy. We must act now and preserve and maintain their heritage language, so they will be productive citizens,” she said.

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Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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