Guidelines to support language celebrations

  • Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
Ethnic Communities

Minister for Ethnic Communities Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga hopes to see an increase in language celebrations following the release today of Heritage and Community Language Celebration guidelines.

“The languages we speak link us to our culture and heritage.  Celebrating our language helps preserve our cultural links while also supporting our sense of belonging as a New Zealander,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

More than 160 languages are spoken in New Zealand, many of which are considered heritage languages.  Heritage and community languages are the languages, spoken by ethnic communities, which represent their ancestral ties.

“Our linguistic diversity is a national taonga that makes our nation culturally richer,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

The language celebration guidelines have been developed by the Office of Ethnic Communities to help communities to build a vision for the future of their language, and plan a language celebration.

“These guidelines recognise that decisions about how to celebrate and maintain heritage and community languages are best made by their communities,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

“I encourage communities interested in celebrating their language and culture, to use these guidelines as a tool to support them to do so successfully.”

It is a practical resource providing advice on where to start, who to involve and shows how communities have developed language celebrations.

To view the guidelines, visit