Although I am bit late on sharing this event, I thought it was still important enough to post. A couple of months ago New Zealand celebrated Samoan Language Week. This year’s celebrations focused on keeping youth connected to their heritage. Tim Glasgow wrote an interesting article about the special week for Radio New Zealand.
One of the key aims of Samoan Language Week in New Zealand is instilling a sense of identity and pride in young Samoans living here. Samoan is the third most spoken language in New Zealand and Samoans make up the highest proportion of the Pasifika population in the country. Many young Samoans are New Zealand-born, so an effort has been made this year to make sure they are aware, and connected to their heritage.
A range of events has held across the country to celebrate Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa or Samoan Language week. The theme this year is ‘Alofa atu nei. Alofa mai taeao, or Kindness given, Kindness gained” and Luaipouomalo Michael Savelio from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples explained what is behind this message. “It’s really around ensuring our kids are aware that as we show kindness to people of today, that they will benefit from that later on in their life in people showing kindness to them.”
He says it’s also about reaching out to young Samoans in New Zealand. “We want to make sure the language thrives but we also want to ensure that the youth of today, especially our New Zealand born, are able to walk confidently in both worlds, both the Samoan world, but also the New Zealand born in New Zealand.”
The Samoan Language students at St Patrick’s College in Upper Hutt put on a presentation that included a traditional ‘Ava ‘o le Feiloa’iga ceremony conducted by the senior students, spoken presentations from the junior Gagana Samoa students, and a Taualuga (traditional Samoan dance) which included all of the students.
A Samoan teacher at St Pat’s and organizer of the event, Liko Alosio, says with only 10 percent of students being Pasifika at the college, instilling a sense of pride in the Samoan students is important. “Just being able to give back to their ancestors or their parents. Most of [the students] are first generation-born, New Zealand-born Samoans so a lot of their parents have emigrated here for a better life, for a better future, for a better lifestyle for their kids. And I guess for the parents to be able to see them interact and re-enact something in their culture … it’s a way of service, service to their parents.”
To read the entire article, feel free to click here.