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Pacific languages are a source of strength

Hon Aupito William Sio

Minister for Pacific Peoples

11 October 2019

Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and from this comes a clear sense of belonging. That’s what the theme for Niue Language Week says to me.

The theme for this year’s Niue Language Week is Tokiofa, Ofania, Mokoina e Vagahau Niue, or, in English, Treasure, Love and Cherish the Niue Language.

Niue Language Week starts on Sunday, and will provide us all with an opportunity to connect with the history community, and culture of this beautiful island nation.

“Most of the people who can trace all, or part, of their ancestry back to Niue now live here in Aotearoa New Zealand. We should remember that when they, or their ancestors, left Niue to come to Aotearoa, they brought their language and the stories it holds with them,” says Aupito William Sio.

“From Sunday we have a chance to pay tribute to these people and those who have continued to ensure this beautiful language has a home here Aotearoa.

Niue Language Week is the sixth of seven Pacific language weeks that will take place in 2019 and will run from Sunday 13 October to Saturday 19 October.

“We use the word Pacific to identify ourselves, as one peoples of the vast Blue Pacific Continent from many different nations that span thousands and thousands of miles.

When we do this, we can often forget the huge diversity in language, culture and custom that exists across the Pacific. We are lucky that in Aotearoa New Zealand we can find much of this diversity in our communities, our homes and our workplaces.

“Learning more about the many languages spoken here is something we can all do. It would enable us to talk about our shared history in ways that have greater meaning and significance, connecting us all and our various identities to places and peoples and events.

“Aotearoa is a Pacific nation, not just geographically, but culturally and historically too. And with a rapidly growing young Pacific population, our future is going to be shaped more and more by the Pacific. Like any small language, Niue has always sought new ways to be heard. This week we have a chance to open these opportunities so a broader audience can hear this wonderful language and see the huge contribution Niue can play in shaping the future of Aotearoa,” says Aupito William Sio.

Note to editors:

Niue Language Week will be officially launched by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio on Saturday 12 October at 6pm, held at the Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland.

ends

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