1 Sep 2012

NZ-born Tongans urged to learn language

10:00 am on 1 September 2012

Young Tongans born in New Zealand are being urged to learn their ancestral language before it's too late.

Tongan Language Week starts on Saturday with the goal of getting more people to speak Tongan every day.

One of the organisers, Linita Manu'atu, says New Zealand-born Tongans are now a majority of the Tongan population here and it's a worry that most can't speak the language.

She says fluent speakers are being lost every day and younger Tongans should seize the chance to learn from their elders while they still can.

Ms Manu'atu says that, for their part, the fluent speakers need to inspire young Tongans to speak the language because it's useful and will enrich their lives.