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Pacific peoples urged to voice opinion on languages

Pacific peoples urged to voice opinion on languages

  • 29 Nov 2021
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Pacific Aotearoa is being urged to complete the Leo Moana o Aotearoa Pacific Languages Survey. 

In what is a first for New Zealand, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) has launched the Leo Moana o Aotearoa Pacific Languages Survey.

The national project will explore the use and attitudes towards nine Pacific languages - Te Gagana Tokelau, Vagahau Niue, Te Reo Māori Kuki ‘Āirani, Gagana Samoa, Lea faka-Tonga , Te Gana Tuvalu, Vosa Vakaviti, Fäeag Rotųam and Te taetae ni Kiribati – in Aotearoa.

Its aim is to use the findings to contribute to the revitalisation, maintenance, and sustainability of these languages in Aotearoa; and deepen the understanding of the current state of Pacific languages in Aotearoa.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio says data from the 2013 and 2018 censuses shows speakers of Pacific languages in Aotearoa have declined. 

"What's special about the online survey is it will tell us about people's attitudes to Pacific languages in New Zealand, including the importance and value that people place on their own languages,” Minister Sio says.

"It is also the first time data about the use of Pacific languages in New Zealand has been gathered in this way.”

The Minister says sadly, the number of people using Pacific languages in Aotearoa has declined over the past two decades.

“In the case of some languages, the decline is to the point where we are in danger of losing some.

"Our Pacific languages must be valued and used as they are the cornerstone of our Pacific cultures and identities."

Minister Sio is urging young Pacific people to participate in the survey, as it is important their voices are heard.

“This survey will enable a greater reach, will be able to penetrate into sectors of our community that may have not had the opportunity to voice their views around languages,” he says.

"The survey will also be able to have greater reach into our youth population where the languages and cultures are still important for our young people.

"I encourage everyone to take part in the Leo Moana o Aotearoa Pacific Languages Survey, so we can make sure our beautiful Pacific languages are strong and resilient in the future."

The Leo Moana o Aotearoa Pacific Languages Survey is open through December 2021.

Learn more about the survey

Photo credit: supplied