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Polynesian languages forum to share common issues

Polynesian languages forum to share common issues

"Speaking the language of your homeland is vital in maintaining cultural identity and will be the main theme of the Polynesian Languages Forum conference next week in Wellington," says conference convenor and Maori Language Commission Chief Executive, Haami Piripi.

"Urbanisation of Polynesian peoples either in the case of Maori from the country and for Pacific Islanders away from the islands has led to issues surrounding language and a break in association with cultural identity.

"As hosts of this years conference we are committed to finding ways to maintain the language of the homeland and provide opportunities, particularly for our youth to access their language, cultural identity, and become more developed individuals," Mr Piripi said.

This will be the 7th conference since the forum was established in 1991. It will run from 30 June - 3 July and will have representatives from 11 Polynesian nations.

The Polynesian Languages Forum has member nations from United States of America Hawaii, Tahiti, Niue, Western Samoa, Tuvalu, Chile Rapanui (Easter Island), Wallis and Futuna, Aotearoa - New Zealand, Cook Islands, Tonga, American Samoa, Tokelau, Rotuma and Fiji.

Its aim is to share ideas and information on ways to:
· better maintain and promote language
· expand vocabularies
· learn and teach language
· produce learning materials, such as books, posters, videos and computer software and
· keep the governments of member nations informed on the health of their Polynesian languages

Events open to the public 30 June 2003, 7.00pm Rangatahi Debates, Council Chambers at Victoria University, Wellington.

1 July 2003, 7.00pm Screening of the Merchant of Venice, (Maori version with English subtitles) Soundings Theatre, Te Papa. Wellington.

3 July 2003, 8.00pm Po whakangahau - social evening, Student Union Building at Victoria University Wellington.

This conference is being supported by Victoria University of Wellington, Te Puni Kokiri, National Library, NZ Aid, Te Ohu Kaimoana, Te Waka Toi, UNESCO, Auahi Kore, Te Papa Tongarewa.

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