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Dedication of Akoteu Nasaleti pre-school

Opening and Dedication of Akoteu Nasaleti pre-school

The Labour-led government understands the value of early childhood education - we know that it can make a real difference to Pasifika children, families and our communities.

Fakatulou atu
Tuku mu'a keu fakahoko 'a e nafa kuo fakakoloa'aki au he 'aho ni.
Tapu ki he 'afio 'a e ta'ehamai
'i hotau lotolotonga ni
Fakatapu atu kia Hou'eiki mo Ha'a mataapule
Fakatapu atu ki he kau taki 'o e lotu.
Fakatapu ki he Matangaa,
mo kimoutolu kotoa pe
'oku mou me'a mai he 'aho ko eni,
ke tau lotu mo fakalangilangi'i 'a e 'aho 'o e Akoteu Nasaleti.

Kae tuku mu'a keu fai ha ki'i lea mo e fakamalo
Ki he 'aho mahu'inga ko 'eni.

Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Ni sa bula vinaka, Namaste, Ia Orana, Gud de tru olgeta, Talofa ni, Talofa, Kia ora tatou, and warm Pacific greetings to you all.

Thank you Reverend Alfred Palu for your introduction and a heart felt thank you for inviting me to celebrate with you the official opening of Akoteu Nasaleti.

A warm welcome to all our guests here today for this wonderful occasion.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Chris Carter have asked that I pass on their best wishes. I hope that they are able to visit Akoteu Nasaleti in the future to see this wonderful centre where our young people are supported in their early childhood education. I also want to acknowledge your MP, Hon Vui Mark Gosche.

Today is a day to celebrate and acknowledge the commitment and hard work of all those involved.

Two government grants of almost three quarters of a million dollars have helped fund this centre. But today is only possible because of the perseverance and dedication of the local community to make this new centre a reality.

In particular, much credit should go to Reverends Taniele Tonga Vaka, Alfred Palu, and Lute Sefesi. We also remember Reverend Vaka's mother, Toa Filimoe'unga Vaka, who was the driving force behind the achievement we are celebrating today. Today we are fulfilling her vision.

And what a fantastic centre this is!

I am sure all the children here now, and those children who will join Akoteu Nasaleti in the future will get a huge amount of fun, pleasure and learning from the redevelopment of this service.

From my short time here today, it is obvious that this is a positive and supportive environment. There is a strong sense of pride and achievement and the philosophies and values of the centre are clear to see.

Everyone here can be proud of your achievements. Thank you to all of you who have contributed towards this project - your support and determination indicates how much you value this centre, and how much you value early childhood education.

The Labour-led government understands the value of early childhood education, and we have made a record investment in expanding services, access and participation. We know that early childhood education can make a real difference to children, families and our communities.

High quality learning sets children on the road to be successful learners in school and later in life. Our investment and financial contribution in Akoteu Nasaleti is one of our biggest, but I'm sure the investment produces success and many opportunities in the future for our young people.

Education underpins all the goals we have for New Zealand's future, and the goals we have for all New Zealanders. Many Pacific people came to New Zealand because of education; because they wanted their children to have a better education, and the best opportunity they could offer them. All parents want the best for their children and it is the government's job to support those goals, and help make them a reality.

Early childhood education is one of the most important things we can do to give young kiwis the best start in education and in life. The government views early childhood education as a vital step in our vision of lifting the educational achievement of all New Zealand children. The children who attend Akoteu Nasleti will have a wonderful start to their education and life long learning.

Since we've been in government, we've been working on raising the quality of ECE, tearing down the barriers to participation, helping make sure kids can access ECE and can access more of it. We've funded new centres like this one, funded innovation, funded training, funded scholarships, and funded access.

Over the past five years the number of Pacific children taking part in early childhood education has grown faster than for any other group. That's an achievement that we should all be very proud of!

The Labour-led government has recognised the importance of early childhood education by funding 20 hours free early childhood education for three and four year olds, and I'd like to thank Akoteu Nasaleti for getting on board, supporting the children to have a bright future at school and beyond, and saving your families up to $4500 a year per child.

Our latest information shows that 70 Pasifika ECE services intend to offer Free ECE. This represents 72 per cent of the 96 Pasifika services eligible for Free ECE, and compares with a rate of 65 per cent for all services eligible for Free ECE. So the take up of 20 hours free is pretty impressive among Pasifika Services - and I think that shows just how important the policy of 20 hours free is to Pasifika families and communities. That means that more than 1200 children at Pasifika ECE services are able to benefit from this policy.

And of course three-quarters of Pasifika children attending licensed ECE services are at mainstream services, and many of their families will be benefiting from this policy as well.

We recognise the importance of Pacific culture to education. There are around 120 early childhood education services that use Pacific languages: Samoan, Fijian, Niuean, Tokelauan, Cook Island Maori, and Tongan. Some are immersion services, and some use English as well. All are important in making early childhood education accessible to Pacific communities.

New Zealand is a Pacific country. The Pacific is our home. Pacific culture and language are increasingly important in the way New Zealanders see themselves.

We're working to build on the great work already occurring in Pasifika early childhood education, and reflecting that emphasis on Pasifika culture in schools. Over the last couple of months we've launched new school curriculums for the teaching of Niuean and Tongan languages, joining the Samoan and Cook Island Maori curriculums. In last year's budget Michael Cullen announced a $4.5 million increase over for years for teaching Pasifika languages. This is a milestone our government is very proud of.

Everything the government does in relation to education for Pacific people is underpinned by the Pasifika Education Plan, which Steve Maharey launched earlier this year at Auckland Girls Grammar. It's about planning for Pasifika success at all levels of education: early childhood, primary and secondary school, as well as tertiary and life-long learning.

All of this work - all of these initiatives, and scholarships, and advertisements - are focused on producing the best outcomes for our children. As I said, the number of Pasifika children in early childhood education is growing faster than for any other group. The number of Pasifika children leaving school with no qualification is shrinking faster than for any other group. The percentage of Pasifika children leaving school with NCEA level two is growing faster than for any other group. The number of Pasifika people participating in tertiary degrees, and in modern apprenticeships, is growing faster than for any other group. By virtually any measurement Pasifika participation and achievement in education is growing, and that bodes well for the future of your community.

Today is another step in that journey for us as a nation, and an enormous leap forward for the families and communities you serve.

I would like to thank all the staff and parents who are involved in running the centre for their hard work year-round. You have come a long way from when Akoteu Nasaleti operated out of a garage. This community has proven that it has the dedication and commitment to govern and manage an early childhood education centre. It is important that you hold onto this vision.

Congratulations to you all on your collaborative efforts and energy in realising this dream. The opening of every early childhood education centre is important for young New Zealanders; today is a special day for Auckland and for the Tongan community.

It's with great pleasure that I formally declare Akoteu Nasaleti open.

'Oku ou fie faka'osi 'aki mo ha fakamalo lahi, kia kimoutolu kotoa pe, Ki he ngaahi ngaue mo e poupou na'a mou fai lolotonga 'etau fononga he ta'u ko 'eni.

Ki he matu'a mo e tauhi fanau, malo e fai fatongi ki he kaha'u 'o e Fonuaa.

Ki he longai'i fanau Ako Nasaleti, ko e sia ena kuo teuteu ke tataki 'aki moutolu ki he kaha'u.

Kia Faifekau, Alifeleti Palu mo e kau taki lotu, fakafeta'i pea fakamalo ki he ngaahi fatongia lelei kuo mou ta ke 'inasi ai e famili kotoa.

'Oku 'oatu foki heni 'eku 'ofa mo e talamonu kia kimoutolu kotoa 'i he etau teuteu fakamanatu 'a e Kilisimasi mo hono ngaahi ouau.

Fakatauange ke mou ma'u ha Kilisimasi fiefia mo ta'u foou monuu'ia.

Leveleva e malanga kae tau atu

ENDS

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