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Samoan Language Week vital to preserve culture

Press Release – New Zealand Government

Samoan Language Week vital to preserve culture New Zealanders will celebrate the Samoan language this week with cultural performances, speeches and debates all over the country. Samoan Language Week begins today. It is the first of seven Pacific …
Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Minister for Pacific Peoples

24 May 2015
Media Statement
Samoan Language Week vital to preserve culture

New Zealanders will celebrate the Samoan language this week with cultural performances, speeches and debates all over the country.

Samoan Language Week begins today. It is the first of seven Pacific language weeks to be celebrated this year.

Pacific language weeks allow us to celebrate the diversity that makes New Zealand unique, says Pacific Peoples Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.

“Languages contribute to the cultural richness of our society and recognise that we are global citizens.”

Samoan is the third most spoken language in New Zealand, with 144,000 people at the last Census identifying as Samoan. It is also the second most spoken language in Auckland.

“The theme of ‘tautua nei mo sou manuia a taeao’ or ‘serve now for a better tomorrow’ is relevant. Using our Pacific languages ensures their preservation,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

“Drawing on the skills and expertise of those who speak Pacific languages allows knowledge to be shared and languages and cultures to be maintained and enhanced.”

Language maintenance is a challenge for Pacific and other migrant communities where the number of speakers is being maintained only through new migration. Second and third generation migrants are often not as proficient in their mother languages.

Language loss is occurring at an alarming rate.

“I trust that Samoan Language Week will provide opportunities for all Samoans to reconnect with their language and culture,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

A list of events marking Samoan Language Week can be found at www.mpia.govt.nz
The 2015 Pacific Language Week line-up:

· Samoa Language Week 24-30 May 2015

· Cook Islands Language Week 3-9 August 2015

· Tonga Language Week 30 August – 5 September 2015

· Tuvalu Language Week 27 September – 3 October 2015

· Fiji Language Week 5-11 October 2015

· Niue Language Week 12-18 October 2015

· Tokelau Language Week 25-31 October 2015

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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