26 Aug 2009

More effort needed from NZ govt says Samoan language group

11:10 am on 26 August 2009

A group focussed on maintaining the survival of the Samoan language in New Zealand says pacific communities and the government must realise that if pacific languages are not protected, they will be lost.

Cook Island maori, Niuean and Tokelauan are the languages most at risk but even languages once thought of as 'strong' languages, like Samoan, are being lost.

The national president of F.A.G.A.S.A Galumalemana Feleti Hunkin, says while communities certainly have a huge part to play there needs to be more effort from the government.

He says there is no policy to safeguard the use of languages within the education system.

"There are curriculums, for example, that are prepared, but they do not have any support whatsoever in terms of financial development programmes, teacher training, and so when that doesn't happen all the efforts by communities can only amount to so much. We're gonna find our language is dying off very fast and so it's a government responsibility to ensure that these pacific languages do not die on these pacific shores."

Galumalemana Feleti Hunkin.

The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs says it's working to ensure there is a more comprehensive approach to Pacific language in all government policies and services, not just the education sector.