News, Pacific

HPF commends Government’s efforts in helping to reverse the decline in the use of Pacific languages.

According to comparisons from Census 2013 to Census 2018, the proportion of speakers of Pacific languages has declined across the board. 

This year, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) will continue to support nine Pacific Language Weeks driven by Pacific communities.

In 2020, Pacific communities displayed their resilience to the Covid-19 environment by moving Language Week activities online. This year will build on the digital successes, with the option to continue online delivery. 

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says this loss of language means the loss of history and a wealth of cultural knowledge and intelligence. 

“It disconnects our past from our present and will disadvantage future Pacific generations … Language is the key to the definition of our overall Pacific wellbeing.

“The 2019 Wellbeing Budget recognised this and provided $20 million over four years toward the support of Pacific languages and cultures – this will fund initiatives critical to reversing the decline in the use of Pacific languages,” says Mr Sio. 

“Language is fundamental to providing Pacific peoples with an anchor to their identity, confidence, and safety as we navigate our way through the economic and social challenges ahead-post the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Meanwhile, MPP recently carried out the Pacific Language Weeks Tivaivai Review, which highlighted the changes community groups want to see in the annual celebrations of our Pacific languages.

This year signals a year of transition for the Language Weeks series, and MPP will be assessing a themed approach, increase in funding and announcing Language Champion Honours. 

Read more here.