26 May 2009

Early childhood centre in Auckland highlights Samoa Language Week

1:42 pm on 26 May 2009

A Samoan early childhood centre in South Auckland says its waiting list is getting longer.

The opposition Labour Party's spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, says 60 percent of the Pacific Island population in New Zealand was born here and teaching their languages early is ideal.

Seugagogo Aoga Amata manager, Mele Autagavaia, says to learn to speak Samoan is a priority and a valuable skill to impart to children.

And she says children enrolled at the centre learn Samoan very quickly.

"It's really good to see these kids who come in to the centre and only speak English and no Samoan at all, but by the time they leave to start Primary School they are so fluent in speaking the Samoan language."

Mele Autagavaia says an increasing number of parents now recognises the benefits of their kids learning Samoan at an early age.

Various events are being held nation-wide until Sunday to celebrate Samoa Language Week .