10 May 2018

Rotuma language week inspires ABs sevens player

10:05 am on 10 May 2018

The first ever Rotuman Language Week is being held in Auckland as part of ongoing efforts to save the endangered language.

Rotuma is an island in Fiji with a population of around 2000, but the indigenous culture more closely resembles that of the Polynesian islands to the east like Tonga and Samoa.

Rocky Khan, NZ Rugby Sevens player

Rocky Khan, NZ Rugby Sevens player Photo: RNZ Pacific

Organised by the Auckland Rotuman Fellowship Group, the aim is to inspire others to continue to share and use the language and pass it on to the next generation.

New Zealand All Black Sevens player Rocky Khan, whose mother is Rotuman and father is Indo-Fijian, said it's given him the opportunity to reconnect with his community and culture.

"They were talking about language week on the radio and I heard Samoa, Fijian and Tongan language week being brought up and that is quite common," he said.

"But then after that I heard Rotuma language being brought up and I almost crashed my car because being brought up in New Zealand and being Rotuman you never hear those things on radio," Mr Khan said.

"So I wanted to find out more about the week and the purpose and so that is why I am here."

The week's events culminate on May 13 to mark Rotuma Day, the anniversary of the island's cession to the United Kingdom back in 1881.