1 Sep 2012

Tonga Language Week begins in New Zealand

4:23 am on 1 September 2012

New Zealand's Pacific Island Affairs Minister, Hekia Parata, says celebrating New Zealand's diverse cultures and speaking their languages benefits everyone as the second Tongan Language Week, Uike Kātoanga'i 'o e Lea Faka-Tonga , gets underway."

"The theme for the week is Fakakoloa 'o Aotearoa - Enriching Aotearoa with Tongan language and culture.

Ms Parata says language is enriching not only because it celebrates diversity but because speaking a second language enhances educational success.

She says the Tongan community must be congratulated for taking charge of its language and heritage, saying the week is a good time to reflect on what that community continues to bring to New Zealand.

Ms Parata says Tongans have made outstanding contributions in academia, business, sports, arts and culture the government wants to encourage and support more of this success.

Tongan Language Week runs from the 1st of September until September the eighth 2012.

Census figures show that 50-thousand Tongans live in New Zealand, making it the third-largest Pacific group, after Samoans and Cook Islanders.