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Inaugural Kiribati Language Week underway

Inaugural Kiribati Language Week underway

  • 12 Jul 2020
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Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific language Weeks programme. 

Officially launched on Saturday, and running from July 12-18, Kiribati Language Week is the third of nine Pacific Language Weeks supported by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP). 

The Minister says it is fantastic there is resourcing available to support the Kiribati community in Aotearoa (approximately 3,225 people as per Census 2018) and to help them run their language week activities for the first time.

“Our government is strongly committed to growing and supporting Pacific Language Weeks in New Zealand and the investment from the 2019 Wellbeing Budget of $20 million to establish a Pacific Languages Unit within MPP, has enabled us to include funding support to the Kiribati and Rotuman communities in 2020,” Minister Sio says. 

“One of the key tasks of the Pacific Language Unit is to work closely with Pacific communities of Aotearoa to ensure their languages are celebrated, taught and thrives through future generations to come.” 

The theme for the Kiribati Language Week is Ribanan te Taetae ni Kiribati e Kateimatoa ara Katei ao Kinakira; in English it means, Nurturing Kiribati language promotes our Cultural Identity and Heritage. 

The theme underscores the significant value the Kiribati community places on its cultural identity and heritage which is encased in its unique language and is integral to their sense of belonging and general wellbeing, Minister Sio adds. 

“It is also a call by the Kiribati community to all its people in Aotearoa to stand together and find ways to ensure the Kiribati language thrives in New Zealand and can be passed onto their children.

“Our Pacific languages are treasures which provides Pacific people key reference points to our identity, our worldview, our faith and our connectedness to our families, our communities and our oceans, lands, and environment.”

The objective of the Pacific Language Weeks is not simply to increase the number of Pacific language speakers, but to help all New Zealanders appreciate the invaluable treasure we have as a multi-cultural nation, Minister Sio explains.

Kiribati Language Week has been officially launched at the weekend on the official Kiribati Language Week 2020 Facebook page. 

This platform will offer a range of events highlighting Kiribati language learning, Kiribati history, traditional dancing and skills, and Kiribati culinary segments. 

In addition to the language week start on July 12, Kiribati will also be celebrating their 41st anniversary of Kiribati Independence Day.

“I would really like to encourage New Zealanders to embrace this newest language in our Pacific language programme, and I invite everyone to take the time to learn and use some simple Kiribati greetings and words such as Mauri (welcome), Ko rabwa (thank you), Ti a bo (goodbye),” Minister Sio says.  

“The people of Kiribati have a beautiful history and culture that many of us do not know about, and I’m pleased Kiribati has been included into the Ministry’s Pacific Language Weeks programme.”

Visit MPP for further information about Kiribati Language Week including resources.