As a Teacher at South Auckland’s Otahuhu Primary School, Gagana Samoa plays a huge part in Fiu Semo Letufuga’s (pictured) role in the classroom as well as all other aspects in his life.
Born and raised in Samoa, Fiu has been teaching South Auckland youngsters for 15 years.
He also is the Auckland Branch President for Faalapotopotoga mo le aoaoina o le Gagana Samoa i Aotearoa (FAGASA), an organisation for teachers of Samoan in Aotearoa.
Fiu was nominated by FAGASA to be part of the Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa - Samoa Language Week 2021 committee working alongside the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP), Fotu O Mālama and Sosaiete Aoga Amata Sāmoa I Aotearoa Incorporated (SAASIA).
“The aim of celebrating the Vaiaso Gagana Samoa in Aotearoa is to encourage ours, yours and future generations to maintain and sustain the language in Aotearoa, New Zealand,” Fiu says.
“Gagana Samoa plays a very crucial part in my life as a classroom teacher,” he adds.
Teaching at primary school level, Fiu is in an ideal position to encourage youngsters to connect with their cultural identity through language, something he is hugely passionate about.
“I use language in the classroom to help our tamaiti who have just arrived from Samoa, and we also encourage our New Zealand-born students to read and write in Samoan, so they can communicate well and in confidence,” he says.
Fiu adds speaking fluently in the Samoan language gives him an opportunity to serve, help and be able to connect with the community.
“I strongly agree our Samoan cultural heritage and history should be passed on throughout generations by our language.
“Being able to speak Gagana Samoa maintains my wellbeing, self-esteem and a strong sense of identity.”
Fiu encourages people in New Zealand to try using the language during Samoa Language Week, especially those wanting to learn about their cultural identity.