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Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa

Thursday 1st June 2017

We spoke to high school students about what Samoan Language Week means to them.

 

The Aorere College debating team in action.

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

Last night, and for the fifth year in a row, Ōtāhuhu Library hosted its Samoan Language Week secondary school debate, to mark the importance of Samoan language and culture in the community. 

Samoan is the third most commonly spoken language in New Zealand, after English and Te reo, and this week New Zealand is celebrating gagana Samoa. 

The Samoan debates give students the opportunity to speak out on issues that affect them directly. This year, teams from De La Salle College and McAuley High School debated the moot ‘O le ala i le pule o le tautua’ (the way to authority is through service).

Aorere College and Southern Cross Campus debated the moot `O le aia tatau ua malepe ai aiga Samoa' (freedom of speech destroys Samoan families.) 

The winner of the first debate was Southern Cross Campus. The second debate winner was McAuley High. The prize for the best debater of the evening was Mika Paulo Lemalu of De La Salle College.

Samoan language week began on May 28, and ends on Saturday. The theme this year is "Ma’au i lou ofaga. Maua’a lou fa’asinomaga” – “Keep your identity alive to thrive.” 
 
Today, Samoans also celebrate Independence Day, in commemoration of the country achieving independence from New Zealand in 1962. 
 
According to the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, sixty percent of Samoans in New Zealand speak Gagana Samoa. 

Statistically, Samoan was the largest Pacific ethnic group in New Zealand in 2013, at 48.7 percent of the Pacific peoples population (144,138 people). In Samoa, the population is 192,126. 
 
You can teach yourself some of the basics of Gagana Samoa (Samoan language) here, and here

In Ōtāhuhu last night, The Wireless asked teams to write down a phrase in Samoan that was meaningful to them. 

DE LA SALLE COLLEGE 

"E lele le toloa 'ae ma'au i le vai: The bird flies but it is tied to the water."

 

From left, Titus Toleafoa, Mika Lemalu, Faamaoni Lalomilo and Jerry Tovia.

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 

AORERE COLLEGE 

"Ma'au i lou ofaga Ma'ua'a i lou fa'asinomaga: Keep your identity alive to thrive."

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 

MCAULEY HIGH SCHOOL

"A leai se gagana, ua leai se aganuu, a leai se aganuu, ua po le nuu: If you have no language, you have no culture, and if you have no culture, you have no people."

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 

From left: Julianne Iakopo, Naomi Fruean, Lelia Lina and Yvette Brown.

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

SOUTHERN CROSS CAMPUS

"Ma'au i lou ofaga Ma'ua'a i lou fa'asinomaga: Keep your identity alive to thrive."

From left: Darnell Savaiinaea, Tili Moli, Lefiu Ofisa, Taalo Tapuafi.

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 

Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

 



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Used to make music videos, now just makes videos with music in them.
Susan Strongman is an Auckland-based journalist at The Wireless. She is interested in social issues, human rights and people, but likes to spend her spare time with her cats.
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