4 Nov 2009

NZ minister highlights links between language and culture

2:15 pm on 4 November 2009

The New Zealand Minister of Pacific Island Affairs says there are strong links between language and culture, strong families and improved social and economic outcomes.

Georgina te Heuheu, speaking during a forum organised by her Ministry and the Family Commission called 'Our Home - Our Future' said supporting Pacific languages and culture is important in building strong, cohesive and resilient Pacific families.

She says being able to use their own language underpins a sense of wellbeing within families and this is shown by the Maori experience since the establishment of kohanga reo.

Mrs te Heuheu says all the developments within the Maori world since 1984 have flowed from that.

"I feel that has rolled off this renaissance of language and culture. Again though I think it is that that we have to harness to address the issues of that segment of both Maori and Pacific populations who aren't doing well and should be doing well in our country."

Access to Samoan, Cook Islands Maori, Niuean and Tokelauan language is becoming increasing available in New Zealand schools.