Talofa lava. Malo le soifua maua. Malo le lagi e mama.
Pacific Island Affairs Minister Hekia Parata encourages all New Zealanders to participate in the upcoming Samoan Language Week which starts in the weekend on 26 May – 1 June.
“It is fitting that Samoan language week sets the tone for the biggest celebration of Pacific language ever seen in New Zealand with seven Pacific language weeks taking place across the country this year,” says Ms Parata.
“I encourage all New Zealanders to give it a go – particularly New Zealand born Samoans. We want to encourage communities to engage with their languages in order to keep them alive in their homes, early childhood centres, churches, schools, workplaces – we want an outbreak of community participation.
“The theme of Samoan language week 2013 is ‘Fafaga fanau i upu ma tala. Tautala i lau gagana’ – ‘Feed children with words and stories. Speak your language’. It emphasises the importance of speaking Samoan in the home and ensuring that children have the tools and knowledge to nurture their heritage language well into the future. This is very exciting.
The Samoan population makes up almost half of the Pacific population in New Zealand. By 2026 it is expected that one in ten people in New Zealand will be of Pacific descent.
Samoan language is the third most commonly spoken in New Zealand, and the second most-spoken in Auckland.
“I encourage all New Zealanders to embrace Samoan language week and other Pacific language week events throughout the year. Make sure you head along to an event and use Pacific greetings and phrases throughout the week.”
The Human Rights Commission and FAGASA (the Association for the Teaching of Samoa in Aotearoa), lead the promotion of Samoan language week and associated activities.
The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs is working with government agencies to encourage the celebration of Samoan language and distribute information across the public sector.