29 Mar 2011

NZ official says pressure mounts on govt to preserve Pacific languages

8:34 am on 29 March 2011

New Zealand's Human Rights Commissioner says pressure is increasing on the government to implement a strategy now to preserve Pacific languages and culture.

A petition is circulating to get five Pacific languages officially recognised as minority languages spoken in New Zealand.

And Joris de Bres says the Human Rights Commission is considering a complaint laid by Pacific parents, after the Ministry of Education stopped the production of popular Pacific literacy and bilingual resources.

"The commission has been pressing the government to develop a Pacific Languages strategy. We are currently, of course, dealing with a complaint in our mediation service, on the pausing or cessation of the publication of Pacific Language resources by the Ministry of Education. And I think we really are pretty close to a crunch point regarding the issue of Pacific languages in New Zealand."

Joris de Bres

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs says it is still developing its Pacific Languages Strategy, which aims to protect and promote the use of Pacific languages in New Zealand.