Pacific Language Weeks magnifies the value of a multilingual community

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the Pacific Language Weeks 2020 will forever mark a special moment in the history of Pacific peoples of Aotearoa who have relished the opportunity of hearing life-saving 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, sent a very powerful message, that we need to protect the health of our Pacific communities.

“For many weeks due to COVID-19, we have had to adapt in the way we communicate and engage with our friends, families and communities. It has been challenging, but we have risen to that challenge. 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,” says Aupito William Sio.

Rotuma Language Week is the first of the nine Pacific Language Weeks that will take place in 2020 and will run from Sunday 10 May to Saturday 16 May.

The theme for this year’s Rotuma Language Week is Putua‘os fäega ma ‘os ag fak Rotuma; or in English means Nurturing our Rotuman identity through language and culture.

“For me, this theme captures what I am saying about the role of language in the growth and advance of Pacific Aotearoa. We have always known that 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 Pacific Language Weeks are entering their 11th year, having first started with Samoa Language Week in 2010 and have since grown year on year, promoting and raising awareness of the diversity of our Pacific Languages.

“This year’s Rotuma Language Week has even greater significance, with it being the inaugural online launch as part of the 11th year of the Pacific Language Weeks,” says Aupito William Sio.

Further Details:

Rotuma Language Week will be officially opened by Minister Sio via video at 11am today and hosted by the New Zealand Rotuman Fellowship Inc. The launch will be via Facebook and can be accessed here.

Further information about Rotuma Language Week including resources can be found here.