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Members of the Kiribati community gathered at Massey University to celebrate the official launch of Kiribati Language Week.
An engaged audience were treated to a fun and lively evening event with food and traditional dance performances from community members at the event held at Massey’s Auckland campus on July 11.
A host of key speakers included Professor Palatasa Havea, Dean Pacific, Massey University; The Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Disability Issues and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and Pacific Peoples; and Rodney Kiribati community leader, Raikaon Tumoa.
Ms Sepuloni told the assembled audience language is a key part of Pacific people’s identity: “For us Pacific people language is an important bridge between our place in modern New Zealand and our heritage as peoples of the Pacific.
“Languages and culture must be valued and treasured, not only ensuring the preservation of our unique heritage for future generations but to also empower our Pacific communities as fellow leaders in the future Aotearoa.”
The theme for Kiribati Language Week is 'Ribanan te Taetae ni Kiribati e Kateimatoa ara Katei ao Kinakira;' which in English means 'Nurturing Kiribati language promotes our Cultural Identity and Heritage'.
The theme supports Kiribati people living in New Zealand, to connect with their culture and identity through the Kiribati language.
“Language is a God-given gift and identifies us as people and verifies our uniqueness”, Professor Havea said.
This is the first Kiribati Language Week in the New Zealand Pacific language weeks programme and runs from July 12-18. There are approximately 3,225 (as per the 2018 Census) Kiribati people live in Aotearoa.
Watch the keynote speakers below.
Created: 16/07/2020 | Last updated: 16/07/2020
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