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Resignation of Samoan Leader

Resignation of Samoan Leader

Friday 23. November

The resignation of Afioga Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin from the NZ Minister of Pacific Affairs Pacific Advisory Council after 14 years service on the Council has sent shock waves and sadness through the Pasifika community today. As a Samoan high chief Galumalemana Hunkin ‘s contributions to the maintenance and rejuvenation of Samoan language in Aotearoa New Zealand has been very significant. This includes being a Lecturer in Samoan at Victoria University of Wellington, author of a large number of academic research papers on the place of Pasifika languages in NZ, former long serving chairperson of Fagasa, Executive member of the Bilingual Leo Pacific Coalition, member of numerous Advisory Boards and bodies, highly respected elder and one of the paramount leaders of the Wellington Samoan community.

In his letter of resignation Galumalemana Hunkin says the resignation is in protest over the 2012 meaningless Pacific Languages Framework strategy and the 2013 Pacific Education Plan launched on Thursday. He said Pacific communities in NZ are simply

asking for what is fair and just and educationally rewarding for Pacific children.

He explains -

I am disillusioned of the repeated platitudes that continue to be trotted out each time by way of plans that have not had much substance nor resources financially or otherwise to make them useful or meaningful. Both the Pasifika Languages Framework of the MPIA and the PEP plan by MOE reflect no real commitment to policies that commit the Government to using Pasefika languages in the education of our children.

He went on to say

New Zealand governments for nearly 40 years, continue to ignore continuous lobbying and calls for our Samoan language for example, to be valued and to be used effectively in the education of our children. International and local best practice research supports the underlined positive intellectual & academic gains that our children would achieve from bilingual programmes. These continue to be ignored by government after government, including this present government. These plans are telling us that what we culturally and linguistically value & hold dear do not matter in New Zealand. We have been effectively told in these plans to ‘let them die’, with little or no government support or policy.

Galumalemana also calls on Maori to support this Pacific Human Rights struggle. He went on to say-

I also call on Maori in New Zealand to support the recognition of our Pasifika languages, the sister languages of Te Reo Maori. We have strongly supported the developments and woadvancement of Te Reo Maori. We have been left still however, in the same cold and miserable spot. Just as we stood by you and with you in the 1970s 1980s and 90’s until you gained recognition for your language , so we ask you to assist us in our hour of need. All we are asking is for some recognition that our peoples and languages now have a place here in NZ as part of the Indigenous wider Pacific and for meaningful policies that will be funded properly.


Note: (Analysis of targets set for Pasifika education show that there is little evidence of any system-wide improvement resulting from these plans (Education Review Office, 2012).

The functions of the MPIA Ministers Advisory Council are as follows

The Council is representative of the various communities of Pacific peoples living in New Zealand. The Minister’s Advisory Council reports directly to the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs and its functions include the following:

1) To advise and make recommendations to the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs on matters related to the social, cultural and economic life of Pacific peoples in New Zealand;

2) to promote the dissemination of information from and to Pacific peoples in New Zealand.


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