Pacific languages

Languages inspires Pacific innovations

Launched today at the Lalanga Fou Languages and High Tech Fono, the Languages Innovation Fund will be piloted for 12 months.

“The Ministry’s engagements with communities throughout Aotearoa confirmed the significance of Pacific languages and cultures to an individual’s sense of belonging and identity,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.

It was announced in this year’s Wellbeing Budget that the Government would allocate $20 million over the next four years to ensure Aotearoa is home to thriving Pacific languages.

Chinese university to offer courses in seven Pacific languages

The Australian National University's Development Policy blog revealed the Pacific Island Country Language-Teaching Programme will be offered at the Beijing Foreign Studies University.

The programme is linked to efforts to facilitate the rollout of the Chinese Government's Belt and Road Initiative in Pacific Island Countries with whom China has diplomatic relations.

Approved by China's Ministry of Education in 2017, Beijing Foreign Studies University started to advertise new four-year bachelor's courses in seven Pacific languages.

Growing number of enrolments for Pacific language classes

The Pasifika Education Centre (PEC) provides free language courses for Tongan, Samoan, Cook Islands, Fijian, Niuean and has recently trialled Rotuman. 

CEO Christine Nurminen says enrolment numbers have doubled over the last five years.

"In 2012 we had just over 400 students that were enrolled, now there's over 1600 students that we're engaging with exclusively around Pacific languages."

She says the increase is an indication that the language is being embraced and valued. 

Labour pledges to review NZ's Pacific migration policy

Labour's Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Aupito William Sio, said the migration policy will be reviewed for small Pacific nations like Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati which feel the brunt of climate change.

He also said the Cook Islands, Niuean, Tokelauan, Samoan and Tongan languages will be made official community languages in the education system.

Aupito said quality language education had a proven record of raising academic achievement.

He also promised Pasifika content in public broadcasting, and goals for Pacific literacy, research and bilingualism.