Tongan Language Week helping empower Tongan youth
Mālō e lelei!
Uike Kātoanga'i 'o e lea faka-Tonga, or Tongan Language Week, is under way with schools and community groups organising events throughout the country.
According to Statistics New Zealand, there are more than 82,000 people of Tongan heritage living in New Zealand, and there are concerns about younger generations of Kiwi-Tongans losing their mother tongue.
"A lot of our kids unfortunately don't grow up in households where Tongan is spoken as a first language, and this is one of the goals of language week is to encourage our young people to learn about our language, to learn about our culture", said Jenny Salesa, a Labour MP of Tongan heritage.
"The majority of our Tongan people here in Aotearoa now, are born and raised here. I think over 60 or 70 per cent."
"Language week is the ideal time to revitalise lea fakatonga, and embrace our Tongan brothers and sister culture, values and traditions," said the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, who officially launched the week at Otahuhu College, Auckland.
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