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Samoan Language Week focuses on cultural treasures

Samoan Language Week focuses on cultural treasures

Samoan Language Week events are taking place across New Zealand beginning this Sunday with church services across the country says Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy.

“Outside of Samoa, more Samoan people live here than anywhere else on earth so in a way, New Zealand is the Samoan language’s second home,” said Dame Susan.

“This year’s theme ‘Taofi mau i au measina’ means hold fast to your treasures. It’s a beautiful way of remembering that we have entire generations of Samoan New Zealanders who are doing just that, holding fast to their cultural treasures. I hope all Kiwis have a go at Samoan this week.”

“Promoting and preserving language and culture is an ongoing journey that never ends with one generation.”

“At Independence Day celebrations last year, Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi said: ‘If we lose our Samoan language, we lose the driving force behind why our leaders fought so hard for independence. If we lose our language, we lose the meaning of why we are here today. His Highness’s words are a poignant reminder to us all about holding fast to those things we treasure: ours to hold and ours to lose.”

Samoan Language Week is on from the 25-31 May with a wide variety of events taking place across New Zealand including lectures, plays, school events, story telling and dance.

Samoan people make up nearly half of New Zealand’s Pasifika population and Samoan is the third most commonly spoken language in New Zealand. The Human Rights Commission and FAGASA (the Association for the Teaching of Samoa in Aotearoa) has led 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.



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