15 Oct 2018

Push to support endangered Niuean language

1:59 pm on 15 October 2018

The Niuean community is celebrating Vagahau Niue Language Week this week with a focus on preserving the endangered language.

Niuean youth are seen as the key to retention and development of Vagahau Niue.

Photo: Niue Youth Network

New Zealand's Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, said he hoped to encourage the next generation to nurture and embrace the Niuean language.

He said it was a real concern that the Niuean language was currently classified by UNESCO as a "definitely endangered language".

Based on the 2013 census the number of Niuean people living in New Zealand is over 18,000 with a median age of 20 years and nearly 80 per cent were born in New Zealand.

He said many of these children were no longer learning Niuean as their mother tongue in the home, with a gradual decrease in the language shown between 2006 and 2013.

Niue's population is 1600 people and Aupito said New Zealand had an important role to play in protecting the future survival of the Niuean language.

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