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Minister welcomes Samoan Language Week

Minister welcomes Samoan Language Week

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has welcomed the start of Samoan Language Week and says the celebrations hold special significance for the Samoan community.

Mr Lotu-Iiga, a Samoan, officially launched the week-long celebrations at the Pacific Island Presbyterian Congregational Church in Cannons Creek, Wellington.

“I spoke to the 300-strong congregation about how our Samoan culture, values, genealogy and history influence us and how we can continue to learn and be inspired by our Samoan identity.

“It’s also very special to be able to share our identity with the rest of New Zealand.”

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.

Mr Lotu-Iiga says he was particularly moved by the turnout yesterday morning at an event at Point England School in Auckland which he attended.

“There were 700 children, family and teachers present and it was a great example of how we can promote the language and instil a sense of pride and identity in our young Pacific kids.”

Cultural identity plays a role in healthy child development and this can contribute to educational achievement.

“To see our Pacific children respond to the teachers and community speaking their language this morning was hugely positive.”

This year’s theme is Taofi mau i au Measina: Hold fast to your treasure

Mr Lotu-Iiga adds that the language is only a part of what makes Samoan people unique.

“Some of those treasures include the culture, values, food, dance and faith of Samoan people.

“It is important to promote and celebrate our language, culture and diversity and this week is a great example of how to do that. There’s a full and exciting programme of events throughout the week and I would encourage all New Zealanders to take part.”


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