The Ministry for Pacific People’s Pacific Language Weeks are celebrated at AUT each year as an opportunity to acknowledge the diverse Pacific cultures at the University.
AUT is kicking off the language weeks with Samoan Language Week, where the language will be openly celebrated through cultural and sporting events, language debates and activity on AUT social media.
AUT Head of Pacific Advancement, Walter Fraser, says Samoan Language Week highlights the contribution the Samoan culture adds to New Zealand’s culture as a whole.
“It is important to keep links to cultural heritage as our Pacific languages are highly valued by our communities and by our families,” he says.
This year, instead of focusing purely on language to profile the various Pacific language weeks, the content will be shaped by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Each video will hear Pacific leaders in their field, and in particular AUT students of Pacific heritage, voice out their thoughts on the SDGs, delve into the various opportunities and challenges, followed by concerted calls to action in the Pacific languages.
AUT’s Samoan Language Week will have an eye on decent work and economic growth, and how our young Samoan leaders can help achieve this by 2030.
“We wanted to give some real depth to our videos relating to the language weeks,” explains Walter. “So we decided to focus on an issue that has a real impact on New Zealand, and our Pacific communities in New Zealand and in the Pacific Islands.”
Aside from this special video on AUT social media to honour Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoan Language Week, the Office of Pacific Advancement at AUT has implemented a number of other initiatives to celebrate the language.
“Anyone ringing the AUT mainline will be welcomed in Samoan, along with the statement that AUT is proud to support Samoan language week,” explains Fraser. “In addition, we will have traditional Samoan music played if anyone happens to be out on hold.”
“Our participation in Samoan language weeks shows our commitment to the support of Pacific peoples and their communities,” adds Fraser.
View our Samoan Language Week video here.
The theme for Samoan Language Week 2016 is “E felelei manu ae ma’au i o latou ofaga: Birds migrate to environments where they survive and thrive.”