The Human Rights Commission has encouraged New Zealanders to celebrate Samoan Language Week 2016 – the first of seven Pacific language weeks to be observed this year.
“As well as a language that epitomises the ancient Samoan culture, gagana Samoa is also a language of the future,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“Google Translate for Samoan was launched earlier this year, a sign that Samoan is being used on the internet so much that a translation tool was needed: we echo the hopes of Pacific Development Minister Peseta Sam Lotu’i’ga that this will extend to our other Pacific languages in years to come.”
The Commission has welcomed an educational resource co-created by the Ministry of Pacific Peoples in partnership with Te Papa Tongarewa, in response to requests from schools and communities.
“Since its inception, communities have been at the heart of Samoan Language Week and this resource will make it easier for educators to celebrate this week,” said Dame Susan.
“Initiatives like this coming week of events are hugely important in the ongoing battle to keep gagana Samoa alive and celebrated in New Zealand.”
The theme for the week is E felelei manu, ae ma’au i o latou ofaga: Birds migrate to environments where they survive and thrive. It explores how identity, environments, diversity and sustainability are crucial aspects of creating communities where people are supported to learn and use Gagana Samoa.