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Fijians urged to treasure their language



Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Minister for Pacific Peoples
4 October 2015 Media Statement


Fijians urged to treasure their language

A fast-growing Fijian population in New Zealand means it is critical the Fijian language is preserved, Pacific Peoples Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says.

Fiji Language Week begins today, with the theme “Noqu vosa, noqu iyau talei – My language, my treasure”.

“The Fijian language is a central strand in the Fijian culture and it is important that Fijians in New Zealand treasure their heritage and culture,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

“With the number of people identifying as Fijian in New Zealand growing rapidly, we need to ensure Fijians maintain those links.”

The number of people in New Zealand identifying as Fijian in the 2013 Census was 14,445, an increase of 46.5 per cent on the number in the previous Census. Nearly 40 per cent of them were born in New Zealand.

“The proportion of Pacific people speaking their heritage languages is declining so it is important that we support communities to keep speaking those languages. That is why these Pacific language weeks are so important,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

The 2015 line-up of seven Pacific language weeks started with Samoa Language Week in May and ends with Tokelau Language Week later this month.

A list of events marking Fiji Language Week can be found at www.mpia.govt.nz


ends

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