26 May 2009

New Zealand Human Rights Commission backs Samoan Language Week

11:09 am on 26 May 2009

New Zealand's Human Rights Commissioner says the agency wanted to support Samoan Language Week this year to help raise the awareness of it as the third most spoken language in the country after English and Maori.

Samoa Language week runs through to the 31st of May.

Joris de Bres says Samoans are New Zealand's fourth largest ethnic community with over 130,000 member.

"This is a new development. We're supporting Samoan language week because the community itself is undertaking the intiatives. And so if other Pacific Island communities do that too then hopefully we will be able to work with them because this is a very important part of New Zealand."

Of 105 government agencies Joris de Bres says a Human Rights Commission survey found only 15 had information translated into languages such as Samoan, which he says is astonishing given the importance of getting government information out to communities.