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Samoa Language Week Theme Is Perfect For The Post-COVID-19 Journey

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week is a perfect fit for helping our Pacific communities cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, and to prepare now for the journey ahead as New Zealand focuses on recovery plans and rebuilding New Zealand’s economy.

The theme for this year’s Samoan Language Week is, “Tapena sou ōso mo lau malaga”, or in English, “Prepare yourself a gift for your travels”.

“The theme is so appropriate for our times and I believe it will help Pacific peoples of Aotearoa focus on playing a leading and vital part in the Government’s plan of “Rebuilding Together,” says Aupito William Sio

“It reminds me that planning is the key to ensuring a successful journey, and that with proper planning where our whole community is involved, we can achieve our desired goals and outcomes, and succeed in reaching our planned destination where we can all celebrate our successes together.

“It’s also about Pacific wellness and I don’t just mean physical wellness but it’s also about planning to keep everyone safe and strong with their emotional and spiritual wellness during the most arduous legs of our post COVID-19 journey.

“COVID-19 has prevented Pacific people from continuing our usual practices of pausing, reflecting and celebrating in huge social face-to-face events after each cycle of a journey. We must now undertake these celebrations on digital platforms and still aim to keep everyone engaged, safe, strong and resilient.

“Our greatest gift for our post COVID-19 journey is preparing our children for the future, and gifting them with opportunities to excel and realise their fullest potential to be confident, thriving, resilient and prosperous Pacific Aotearoa.

“Budget 2020’s Pacific Package of $195 million will provide Pacific peoples with opportunities for upskilling, redeployment, micro-credentials, business support, online engagement support and of course continue to keep everyone informed with key messages in our Pacific languages, so no one misses out on accessing these opportunities.

As Pacific peoples, when we prepare for travel, we take everything we have learnt from our families and communities with us, allowing us to share our ōso (gifts), alofa (love) and tatalo (prayers) with everyone we meet along the way. And with these gifts we build, nurture and strengthen our relationships, with both aiga (family), ekalesia (churches) and uo (friends).

“And as we have responded to the challenges of COVID-19, being prepared has been key. Delivering innovative, tailored messages to Pacific Aotearoa in nine languages across all media platforms has not only helped support our Pacific communities, ensuring their safety and wellbeing, but showed them the respect we hold for them.

Language and culture are vital sources to our identity. They are a source of strength, grounding us and giving us confidence. Speaking our languages provides us with an intimate sense to our identity and our story, giving us a clear sense of belonging.

Samoa Language Week will be officially launched online tomorrow by the Christchurch EFKS community and will run from Sunday 24 May to Saturday 30 May.

“I encourage all New Zealanders to use some simple Samoan greetings and words this week, to take time to understand what these words mean and the stories they carry, and to take time to speak with Samoan friends, colleagues and neighbours about what their language means to them,” says Aupito William Sio.

Note to editors

Samoa Language Week will be officially launched on Sunday, 24 May at 5:00pm and will be opened by Minister Sio via video, hosted by the Samoan Congregational Christian Church of Christchurch. The launch will be presented via Facebook and can be accessed here.

Further information about Samoa Language Week including resources, can be found here.

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