'Pacific people thrive when we hear our stories in own language'

By Te Ao - Māori News
Source / Ministry for Pacific Peoples

The importance of language in providing a foundation for Pacific wellbeing is highlighted by this year's Samoa Language Week which starts today, Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio said in a statement Sunday.

“Languages are essential to having confidence in our Pacific identities. They are the lens through which we understand ourselves and the world around us. Pacific people thrive when we hear our own stories told in our own languages."

This year’s Samoa Language Week theme is wellbeing.  'Poupou le lotoifale, Ola manuia le anofale (‘Strengthen the posts of your house, for all to thrive’) talks about the Samoan fale or house which can only stand strong when the pillars are sturdy, said Minister Sio.

“Like a fale, our individual and collective resilience can be measured by our building posts that keep us grounded through the inevitable ups and downs of everyday life. Those posts are our languages, cultures and traditions which are reinforced by our families, schools, and churches.  

“Poupou le lotoifale, Ola manuia le anofale reminds us that coming together to celebrate Samoan culture will strengthen our Gagana Samoa and bring positive benefits for all New Zealanders. These benefits will not only be felt now, but in the future."

South Waikato District Council Mayor Jenny Shattock visited Tokoroa's Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata today for Samoan Language Week.  Source/Facebook

Gagana Samoa is the third most-spoken language in Aotearoa behind English and te reo Māori,” he said.   

“It is crucial that our Gagana Samoa continues to be used by Samoans in New Zealand, and that it is passed on to the generations to come. 

“Although it's great that many people speak Gagana Samoa, we must actively nurture the language so that our New Zealand-born Samoans grow up with a firm understanding of the unique culture and traditions that provide the foundation of who they are," said Minister Sio.