11 Oct 2012

Pacific groups plan charter school

10:09 am on 11 October 2012

The Niuean, Cook Islands Maori and Tokelauan communities in Auckland want to set up a charter school to help revive their dying languages.

Representatives are putting together a joint bid for a primary school to teach the curriculum in the three languages and some English.

One of the Niuean members, Mele Nemaia, says a charter school would provide somewhere for children from Niuean, Tokelauan and Cook Islands Maori preschools to continue to learn their languages.

She says the focus on the students' culture and language should also help them do better academically.

Mele Nemaia says the need to save the language is urgent as most of the 20,000 New Zealanders of Niuean descent don't speak it, and there are fewer than 1500 people on Niue itself.