Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
Hon Aupito William Sio
Minister for Pacific Peoples
4 October 2019
“Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.
“Family, culture, faith, whatever it may be, we all need a way to pause, reflect and regroup before we keep going. We need these moments so we can connect with our roots, to our origins, our foundations and to the places where our stories began.
The theme for this year’s Fijian Language Week is Na Noqu Vosa - Ai Takele Ni Noqui Tovo or, in English, my language anchors my culture.
“For Pacific people, one of the most powerful anchors that helps to connect us with our roots is our language. Our language is our strength; it is our grounding, our confidence. When it is spoken and understood, it can give us an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story – and from this comes a clear sense of belonging.
Fijian Language Week is the fifth of seven Pacific language weeks that will take place in 2019 and will run from Sunday 6 October to Saturday 12 October.
“Language can provide a sense of self because it helps teach us where we come from, what we’ve been through and the values we’ve held onto throughout. That’s why we not only want to preserve our Pacific languages for ourselves but to pass on the protection they provide to our children.
As part of the Wellbeing Budget, the Government allocated $20 million over the next four years to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand is home to thriving Pacific languages.
“The priority here is to make sure future generations of Pacific people do not lose their identity as they grow and prosper in New Zealand society. It is to give them a cultural foundation from which they can build their future.
“Our children’s story will be different to our own, but we still share the same anchor. These roots cannot ever be removed, we can only continue to grow from them. That’s what the theme for Fijian Language Week says to me and I am delighted to be able to share it with you,” says Aupito William Sio.
Note to editors:
Fijian Language Week will be officially launched by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio on Saturday 5 October at 12pm, held at the Templeton Community Centre, 64 Kirk Road, Christchurch.
Further information about Fijian Language Week including resources can be found here.