With new premises and new funding under its belt, Pasifika Education Centre (PEC) will continue to contribute to the wellbeing of Pacific people in Aotearoa.
Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio spoke at the opening of the new premises for PEC in Manukau on Thursday and announced a $3.9 million allocation over four years.
This funding will enable PEC to offer free community Pacific language courses including online platforms and digital learning modules.
It is a significant investment by the Government in support of Pacific languages and reflects commitment to Pacific wellbeing, and ensuring Pacific people in New Zealand can learn and use their languages at home, at work and in their communities, Minister Sio says.
“In 2018, I released the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou report at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Vision Summit, which highlighted, thriving Pacific languages and cultures as a key goal Pacific peoples of Aotearoa had themselves identified as vital to their general wellbeing and identity,” he says.
“The Government’s focus in 2019 on the Wellbeing for all New Zealanders meant we also recognised the role languages and cultures play in the wellbeing and success of Pacific Peoples.
“This has led to a significant investment in Pacific languages with the allocation of $20 million to the Ministry for work that includes the establishment of a Pacific Language Unit and working in partnership with the wider Pacific communities of Aotearoa to ensure Pacific languages can thrive through future generations.”
Established more than 40 years ago, PEC is the ideal organisation to deliver community Pacific language courses, which provide practical hands-on training that is useful and has practical applications in diverse cultural settings, irrespective if people speak fluently or not, Minister Sio adds.
The organisation was originally set up to support Pacific peoples new to Aotearoa New Zealand to learn English and receive settlement support.
“It is ironic but PEC has come full circle, from its original focus on preparing Pacific migrants to navigate their way through the industrial society of the times, to now leading the way in helping Pacific peoples who call Aotearoa their home, to navigating the digital economy by using their heritage languages and cultural values as their guide,” Minister Sio says.
Embracing Pacific cultures and languages will not hold people back, rather they will propel people forward, giving them the ability to determine their futures with the wisdom and understanding of their cultural past.
The Minister says when PEC completes the rollout of its online platforms, he expects to see more people wanting to go online to embrace learning and becoming Pacific bilingual speakers.
“In my travels around the country, more and more young people tell me they value their Pacific languages and cultures and recognise Pacific bilingualism gives them a competitive edge in their personal life, including in their educational pursuit and in the modern market place,” he says.
Visit PEC for more information.