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Source: New Zealand Government

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific language Weeks programme.

“I am so pleased that this year we are able to provide resourcing support to the Kiribati community in Aotearoa which will help them run their language week activities for the first time,” says Aupito William Sio.

“Our Government is strongly committed to growing and supporting Pacific Language Weeks in New Zealand and the investment from the 2019 Wellbeing Budget of $20 million to establish a Pacific Languages Unit within the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, has enabled us to include funding support to the Kiribati and Rotuman communities in 2020.

“One of the key tasks of the Pacific Language Unit is to work closely with Pacific communities of Aotearoa to ensure their languages are celebrated, taught and thrives through future generations to come.

The theme for the Kiribati Language Week is Ribanan te Taetae ni Kiribati e Kateimatoa ara Katei ao Kinakira’; in English it means, ‘Nurturing Kiribati language promotes our Cultural Identity and Heritage’.

“This theme underscores the significant value the Kiribati community places on its cultural identity and heritage which is encased in its unique language, and is integral to their sense of belonging and general wellbeing.

“It’s also a call by the Kiribati community to all its people in Aotearoa to stand together and find ways to ensure the Kiribati language thrives in New Zealand and can be passed onto their children.

“Our Pacific languages are treasures which provides Pacific people key reference points to our identity, our worldview, our faith and our connectedness to our families, our communities and our oceans, lands, and environment.

The objective of the language weeks isn’t simply to increase the number of Pacific language speakers, but to help all New Zealanders appreciate the invaluable treasure we have as a multi-cultural nation.

Kiribati Language Week will be officially launched tomorrow on the official Kiribati Language Week 2020 Facebook page and will offer a range of events highlighting Kiribati language learning, Kiribati history, traditional dancing & skills, and Kiribati culinary segments. The language week will run from Sunday 12 July to Saturday 18 July.

In addition to the language week start tomorrow, Kiribati will also be celebrating their 41st anniversary of Kiribati Independence Day.

“I would really like to encourage New Zealanders to embrace this newest language in our Pacific language programme, and I invite everyone to take the time to learn and use some simple Kiribati greetings and words such as Mauri (welcome), Ko rabwa (thank you), Ti a bo (goodbye).

“The people of Kiribati have a beautiful history and culture that many of us don’t know about, and I’m pleased that Kiribati has been included into the Ministry’s Pacific Language Weeks programme,” says Aupito William Sio.


Further Information

Kiribati Language Week will be officially launched on Sunday, 12 July at 9.00am and will be opened by Minister Sio via video, hosted by the Kiribati Federation Aotearoa. The launch will be presented via the Kiribati Language Week Facebook page and can be accessed here.

The Kiribati population in New Zealand is 3,225 as per the 2018 Census.

Kiribati is a republic comprising 32 coral atolls and one raised coral island stretched east to west along the equator in the central Pacific.

It is home to around 116,300 people and also the South Pacific’s largest marine reserve. Kiribati is low lying and as a result extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change including rising sea levels and the challenges associated with salt water inundation of fresh water supplies.

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