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Minister welcomes national Tokelau Language Week

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs

29 October 2012 Media Statement

Minister welcomes national Tokelau Language Week

Taloha Ni. Pacific Island Minister Hekia Parata welcomes the inaugural Tokelau Language Week which starts this week, Monday 29 October to Sunday 4 November.

“The theme Ke mau ki pale o Tokelau: hold fast to your treasures of Tokelau” emphasises the importance of te gagana Tokelau (Tokelau language) as a taonga cherished by the New Zealand Tokelau community,” says Ms Parata.

“Not only does the Tokelau Language Week provide a focal point for the Tokelau community to revitalise their language, it also gives all New Zealanders the opportunity to share in, celebrate and learn more about Tokelau language and culture. I congratulate the Tokelau community for leading by example. Our languages will only survive if they are used by our communities,” says Ms Parata.

According to the 2006 Census, Tokelau people make up two per cent of the total Pacific population in New Zealand. 2,505 Tokelau people are able to hold an everyday conversation in te gagana Tokelau out of a population of 6,819.

This will be the last Pacific language week celebration of the year following the successful Tongan, Samoan, Niue and Cook Island language weeks.

The Pacific Island Affairs Ministry supports Pacific language revitalisation through the development of Community Action Plans. Language Weeks like these provide a focal point for communities to raise awareness and the profile of heritage languages.

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