Let’s learn Tuvaluan
Tuvaluan Language Week will kick off this weekend, with a message from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Chief Executive Officer Laulu Mac Leauanae; Tuvalu may be a small island but it has a big heart.
"The Tuvaluan community in New Zealand is thriving regardless of small numbers, and they are active and very proud of their culture," says Laulu.
"It is imperative that young Tuvaluan people can understand, and speak confidently in their native tongue and are able to carry the language with them, preserving it for future generations."
"This is where the history takes us down a new path," says Laulu.
"Our young people have a huge advantage in life if they retain their native tongue. It opens doors and gives them greater confidence in their identity, along with enabling them to think both laterally and creatively."
In his speech, Laulu pledged to parents, teachers, Tuvalu community associations and language advocates to do whatever they can, collectively, to promote and support Tuvaluan Language as a foundational language for Tuvaluan young people.
"It is important that our work in the Ministry promote the languages of our small island nations in the Pacific and help keep the Tuvaluan language alive."
The theme for this year’s Tuvaluan language week is ‘Fano ki mua kae sa puli tou iloga’ which translates to ‘Progress to thrive, not forgetting your roots’.
Tuvaluan is the fourth of seven Pacific Language Weeks being celebrated this year.
According to the 2013 Census, there are about 3,537 Tuvaluan people living in New Zealand, with the majority residing in Auckland (72.4 percent or 2,562 people), followed by the Wellington Region (12.5 percent or 441 people), and the Otago Region (3.1 percent or 111 people).
The official opening of Tuvaluan Language Week kicked off on Friday, 29 September from 7pm at the Auckland Memorial Museum.
Tuvaluan Language Week officially begins on Sunday 1 October, which coincides with Tuvalu’s 39th Independence Day celebrations, and it ends on Saturday 8 October.
For further information about Tuvaluan Language Week, including a calendar of events and language resources can be found here.