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Pacific Language Weeks To Begin

The first of 11 Pacific Language Weeks for 2024 is next week, as we look forward to celebrating the many varied cultures and identities of the Pacific communities in Porirua.

For the first time, two new languages have been added to the calendar, as we recognise the language of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. These join Rotuma, Samoa, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Fiji, Niue and Tokelau.

The overarching theme of the language weeks for 2024 is sustainability, aligning with UNESCO’s long-term vision to protect indigenous languages, not just in the Pacific but worldwide. Sustainability can include the physical, but also language - which incorporates heritage and identity - with UNESCO saying at least 40 per cent of the world’s 7000 languages are in danger of being lost.

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker says the flag-raising events at the beginning of each language week at the peace memorial at Te Rauparaha Park are a representation of the vibrancy that exists in Porirua. Pacific people make up nearly 27 per cent of the city’s population, making it one of the most culturally diverse regions in New Zealand.

Kiribati is one of the communities to be celebrated in our upcoming language weeks.

"I always look forward to the activities and events we have on during the different language weeks, especially seeing the young ones taking part - it is as much about learning and developing relationships with our residents as it is having fun," she says.

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"We can celebrate what enriches our communities and it aligns beautifully with our Pacific Strategy, which we adopted last year. We want to make everyone feel welcome enough to celebrate their own nations and identity."

Pacific Language Week dates for 2024:

Rotuma: 12-18 May

Samoa: 26 May-1 June

Kiribati: 7-13 July

Cook Islands: 4-10 August

Tonga: 18-24 August

Tuvalu: 29 September-5 October

Fiji: 6-12 October

Niue: 13-19 October

Tokelau: 27 October-2 November

Papua New Guinea: 10-16 November

Solomon Islands: 24-30 November

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