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Language affirmed as key to Pacific wellbeing

Language affirmed as key to Pacific wellbeing

  • 10 May 2021
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Rotuman Language Week is the first Pacific Language Week of 2021 and makes it clear language is the key to the wellbeing for all Pacific people. 

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio, who launched Rotuman Language Week yesterday (Sunday) at Auckland War Memorial Museum, says he believes language is one of the pillars of our identity. 

“This government believes Pacific languages deserve to thrive in Aotearoa New Zealand,” Minister Sio says. 

This year’s Rotuman Language Week theme is Tutur häk ne måur lelei, or, in English, the four pillars of life, which include health: Fak'ata (spiritual), Fakforo (physical), 'Os A'häe (psychological) and Hạikạinagaga (relationship with people). 

This is a holistic approach to life and language that will inspire our young people, Minister Sio adds. 

“Tutur häk ne måur lelei reminds us Pacific resilience is about more than just physical health. 

“We must also nurture the other aspects that make up our entire beings, and it is a call to action to take stock of our overall wellbeing.” 

In 2019, the Wellbeing Budget delivered a $20 million package to the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) over four years to support the revitalisation of Pacific languages. 

The funding will lay the foundations for making sure Pacific languages flourish in Aotearoa, Minister Sio explains. 

Rotuman Language Week is the first of nine Pacific Language Weeks, supported by MPP, and staggered throughout the year.  

During the week, activities hosted by the Rotuman community in New Zealand will be staged online and at various venues.

On May 13, 140 years of Rotuman Day will be commemorated at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington, and on May 15, the Kato’aga and Honours Awards will take place at Malaeloa Community Centre. 

Minister Sio says his hope for Rotuman Language Week is people accept the invitation to nourish our culture through Rotuma’s four pillars of life. 

“We will also unite with the Rotuman community as they share with us the beauties of their culture and language.” 

See more about Rotuman Language Week