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Porirua’s rich cultural tapestry

cook islands language week

Cook Islands Māori Language Week, in August, began with a flag raising.

Porirua is one of the most culturally diverse regions in New Zealand, enriched by (and is well known for) our huge Pacific community that live here.

“The Pacific community brings so much wisdom, depth and colour to our city. This is part of what makes Porirua so special, and the Pacific Language Weeks are a great way to celebrate the different Pacific cultures,” says Porirua Mayor Anita Baker.

The city is proud to take part in the Ministry for Pacific People’s official Pacific Language Week programme which covers nine Pacific languages from the following island communities: Rotuma, Samoa, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Fiji, Niue and Tokelau.

Deputy Mayor Izzy Ford says the different Pacific Language Weeks are important to everyone, not only to the Pacific community.

“When we celebrate our diversity and learn more about our Pacific neighbours, it not only helps to keep a language alive, but keeps us connected to our culture, to our motherland. Learning to greet someone in their home language is a thoughtful gesture which helps build strong connections.”

Each language week kicks off with a flag raising ceremony at the Peace Memorial in Te Rauparaha Park. A pastor or community elder will open the proceedings with a blessing and during the flag raising everybody sings the national anthem of that country.

Mayor Baker says these weeks are always a highlight.

“During the recent Cook Islands Māori Language Week, we had activities like traditional weaving, ukulele and cooking classes, all free and great fun for the whānau. I would strongly encourage everyone to come and join in at some stage.”

So far this year we’ve celebrated Rotuma, Samoa, Kiribati and Cook Islands Māori. Still to come this year are: Tonga (6–12 September), Tuvalu (27 September to 3 October), Fiji (4–10 October), Niue (18–24 October and Tokelau (25–31 October). We will also celebrate Māori Language Week from 14–21 September. 

3 Sep 2020