1 Jun 2011

Samoa Language Week highlights language, sport and healthy lifestyle

7:59 pm on 1 June 2011

Samoa Language Week's theme this year is "Samoa Ola: Samoa Active" focusing upon language, sport and healthy living.

Samoans are the fourth largest ethnic community in New Zealand, and their language is the third most commonly spoken language after English and Māori.

The theme is also in light of Manu Samoa coming over for the Rugby World Cup.

The chief executive of Manu Samoa's rugby union, Su'a Peter Schuster, says 99 percent of their 55 squad understand Samoan, but 5 percent of the team do struggle with the spoken language.

Quite a few of the team members this year are New Zealand based.

"The language is a very important tool for communication, and also it reflects your own identity, who you are, whom you are, and how that can be expressed and respected by the other nations and its something that provides that confidence."

Samoa Language Week in New Zealand ends next Tuesday.