23 Sep 2010

Tukuitonga not impressed by NZ Pacific language research

2:13 pm on 23 September 2010

The Chief Executive of New Zealand's Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Colin Tukuitonga, says he is underwhelmed with new research into the decline of Pacific languages.

The University of Auckland study suggests Pacific Island languages in New Zealand are in a worse state than previously thought, with calls for urgent action for their survival.

But Colin Tukuitonga says a census in 2006 already indicated how dire some Pacific languages were and that more effort was needed to halt the decline.

"It's a repeat, a re-presentation of what we already know. What would have been helpful is if the research was more focused on solutions or interventions that work. This is a rehash of much of what we already know."

Colin Tukuitonga says he agrees with the study's suggestion to expand the role of Pacific languages in the public domain through bilingual and immersion education.

He says his ministry has helped put several measures in place for language retention, including a Mind Your Language programme, and a Pacific Language Strategy that's due before Cabinet later this year.