Ministry for Pacific Peoples — Understanding the past helps Gagana Tokelau Understanding the past helps Gagana Tokelau Skip to content

Understanding the past helps Gagana Tokelau

Understanding the past helps Gagana Tokelau

  • 25 Oct 2022
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  • Tokelau
Finalised Poster for Tokelau with Bleeds 1

(Picture caption: Fakatālofa atu kia te koutou and welcome to Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau – Tokelau Language Week 2022. Visit the MPP website for useful language week information and resources.) 

The past is the key to building and sustaining Gagana Tokelau says Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio. 

This year’s theme for Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau – Tokelau Language Week 2022 focuses on Halahala ki vavau, kae ke mau ki pale o Tokelau, or in English, To plan is to understand the past. 

Minister Sio says to preserve the language, it is important we know and understand our past as this will give our communities in Aotearoa the confidence and ability to plan and work together in harmony for the sustainability of Gagana Tokelau. 

“According to the 2018 Census, 23 percent of the 8,676 Tokelau population currently residing in Aotearoa New Zealand speak te Gagana Tokelau - a decrease of 14 percent since the 2006 Census,” he says. 

The Minister wants to assure Pacific communities in Aotearoa they are heard  about preserving and revitalising languages. 

“We hear the passion and commitment you have for our languages and we  hear the call for better pathways in our education system that draw on our Pacific languages as keys to success. 

“That's why this government invested $20m from Budget 2021 to support Pacific bilingual units.” 

The theme for the last Pacific Language Week of 2022 connects to the overall theme for this year’s Pacific language weeks of sustainability, and the launch of the UNESCO Decade of Indigenous languages. 

“It is up to us to get behind building Gagana Tokelau and developing it for future generations to use, starting with Tokelau Language Week,” Minister Sio says. 

“Tokelauans in Aotearoa will not be alone in this challenge. 

“The Government’s recently announced Pacific Language Strategy commits a whole-of-government­ approach to ensure Pacific languages flourish, thrive and prosper in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

“I would also like to say a massive fakafetai lahi lele to everyone for working together to support the Pacific Language Weeks series, and the revival and survival of Pacific languages, which are key to not only our identity but wellbeing.” 

Throughout Tokelau Language Week, there are some great in-person and online events happening, which we urge you to support, including the opening at Pahina Church Porirua; the launch of the Tokelau Wellbeing Strategy on October 29, and closing ceremony, also in Porirua – you can find all the details on the NZ Tokelau Language Week Facebook page

Visit the MPP website for more language week information and resources.