TALOFA LAVA! We’re celebrating Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoa Language Week this week and reflect on how vital language is to the wellbeing of Pacific peoples.
The theme is, Poupou le lotoifale, Ola manuia le anofale, or, in English, Strengthen the posts of your house, for all to thrive.
Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio who launched the week at Papatoetoe High School in South Auckland on Sunday said the theme talks about the Samoan fale or house, which can only stand strong when the pillars are sturdy.
“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,” said Mr Sio.
“Those posts are our languages, cultures and traditions which are reinforced by our families, schools, and churches.”
The 2018 Census shows over 60 per cent of Pacific people are born in New Zealand, and Gagana Samoa is the third most-spoken language in New Zealand behind English and te reo Māori.
Mr Sio said while it’s great many people speak Gagana Samoa, we must actively nurture the language so NZ-born Samoans grow up with a firm understanding of the unique culture and traditions which provide the foundation of who they are.
“I encourage all New Zealanders to celebrate Samoa Language Week this year by taking the time to support their Samoan neighbours, colleagues and friends to strengthen the posts of their house, or inner-selves, through the celebration of Samoan language and culture.”
As part of Samoa Language Week 2021 celebrations, Samoan Independence Day commemorations will take place on June 1, at Fale Samoa, Māngere.
The nominated 2021 Tautai o le Gagana Language Champion Honours event will take place June 5 at 3pm, held at Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland.