The 2020 Pacific Language Weeks will forever mark a special moment in the history of Pacific peoples of Aotearoa.
Our Pacific communities have relished the opportunity of hearing lifesaving COVID-19-messages being delivered in Pacific languages, on mainstream media platforms.
The Government’s efforts to deliver vital COVID-19 messages to Pacific communities in nine languages, and delivering it across mainstream media platforms, including social, radio and TV, using our own linguists, sends a very powerful message, that we need to protect the health of our Pacific communities.
Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio says we have had to adapt in the way we communicate and engage with our friends, families, and communities for many weeks, due to COVID-19.
“It has been challenging, but we have risen to that challenge,” he says.
“Our Pacific cultural values and languages have been key to connecting, supporting Pacific communities across Aotearoa, and building confidence in how to keep our families safe during these uncertain times.”
Rotuman Language Week is the first of the nine Pacific Language Weeks in 2020 and 2020 is the first year Rotuman Language Week has been included in the series.
It was officially launched by Minister Sio via Facebook live video stream on Saturday, and hosted by the New Zealand Rotuman Fellowship Inc.
The theme for this year’s Rotuman Language Week, which runs from May 10-16, is Putua‘os fäega ma ‘os ag fak Rotuma; or in English Nurturing our Rotuman Identity through Language and culture.
For Minister Sio, this theme captures what he shares about the role of language in the growth and advance of Pacific Aotearoa.
“We have always known embracing our Pacific cultures and languages would not only build confidence in our communities but also help to advance their future success.
“Our collective efforts and motivation to cherish our Pacific languages and bilingualism as a valued competitive edge can only enrich New Zealand’s cultural richness.”
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Pacific Language Weeks are entering their 11th year, having first started with Samoa Language Week in 2010.
They have since grown year on year, promoting and raising awareness of the diversity of our Pacific languages.