11 May 2021

Language is key to Pacific wellbeing: Aupito

6:39 am on 11 May 2021

The first Pacific Language Week in New Zealand this year makes clear that language is the key to the well-being for all Pacific people.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, made the comment while launching the Gasav Ne Fäeag Rotuạm Ta - Rotuman Language Week in Auckland on Sunday.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio launches the 2021 Rotuman Language Week in Auckland.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio launches the 2021 Rotuman Language Week in Auckland. Photo: Supplied

The islanders are excited to celebrate their language and culture together this year.

Last year's Rotuman language week, New Zealand's third, was forced online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The theme for is Tutur häk ne måür lelei - the four pillars of life and well-being:

Aupito said language is one of the pillars of any people's identity.

Pacific languages, cultures and identity are essential to the health, well-being and lifetime success of Pacific peoples and their communities in Aotearoa, he said.

"This Government believes Pacific languages deserve to thrive in Aotearoa New Zealand," he said.

"This year's Rotuman Language Week theme is Tutur häk ne måur lelei, or, in English, the 'four pillars of life', including health: Fak'ata (spiritual), Fakforo (physical), 'Os A'häe (psychological) and Hạikạinagaga (relationship with people).

"This is a holistic approach to life and language that will inspire our young people.

"Tutur häk ne måur lelei reminds us that Pacific resilience is about more than just physical health - we must also nurture the other aspects that make up our entire beings. It is a call to action to take stock of our overall well-being.

"The Wellbeing Budget 2019 delivered a $NZ20 million ($US14.6m) package to MPP over four years to support the revitalisation of Pacific languages.

"The funding will lay the foundations for making sure Pacific languages flourish in Aotearoa," said Aupito.

Rotuman Language Week will run from Sunday 9 May to Saturday 15 May.

"My hope for Rotuman Language Week is that we accept the invitation to nourish our culture through Rotuma's four pillars of life.

"We will also unite with the Rotuman community as they share with us the beauties of their culture and language," Aupito said.


.. Photo: Supplied

What's happening


10.00am - Hanuju (Story Telling) by Tupou Mafileo

Venue: Mangere Town Centre Library, Auckland.

12pm - Rotuman Alphabet Song led by Mairani Group

2pm - Mara ma 'a'ana Fekei: traditional taro dessert led by Mairani Group.

6pm - Hanuju (storytelling): Kirkir sāsā: The mother with a tattooed armpit led by Sopapelu Samisoni.

7pm - Kainaga Gardening & Water Pledge Project led by Kainaga Fitness Health Group members Leona Chute, Mosese Rigamoto, Konrote Tonu and Sopapelu Samisoni.


9am - Ruemba: When Rotumans do Zumba. It's exciting, energetic, flavoursome and colourful. Led by Ricco Panapasa, a qualified Zumba instructor with support from the NZ Rotuman Fellowship Group, Wellington Community.

11am - Elderly Day Showcase Arts and Craft Display, Avondale Library, Auckland.

Ōtara Kai Village Rotuman songs and arts display for whānau and community, Ōtara Town Centre, Auckland.

1pm - Healthy Cooking with Kainaga & Childrens Fruits & Vege Segment. Join Elon Sokra'a and Josie Parker in a fun cooking segment. The Children of Kainaga will also be introducing fruits and vegetables in the Rotuman language.

6-9pm - Rotuma Te 'is 'otomis Haharagi (youth) fara workshop at the University of Auckland. To register email hata.committee@gmail.com

Rotuman Youth of New Zealand (RYNZ) and the University of Auckland's Fijian Students Association (UAFISA) share the protocols of a fara, teach songs and do a short fara. Level 3 C-Space at Auckland University.

7pm - Rogrog ui ragi (red-table talk) Canterbury Rotuman Community Youth discuss switching to a plant-based diet and whether you can you be a vegetarian and an athlete too.


1pm - Terän 'esea ta (One Day at a Time) Rotuman song led by members of the Rotuman Wesleyan Church.

3pm - Christchurch Rotuman Mini Sports Day led by the Canterbury Rotuman Community.

6pm - Hanuju (StoryTelling).

7pm - Creating and Finding Community in the Diaspora: Join young Rotuman youth panelists online as they discuss migration and finding community in the Diaspora Led by Canterbury Rotuman Community Youth.

Te Ran on La'ri'ri'I - Sua Maka - (Children singing) at NZ Rotuman Community Centre. Papatoetoe, Auckland.

8pm - Dinner (children recite prayers in Rotuman at NZ Rotuman Community Centre. Papatoetoe)


.. Photo: Supplied


9am - Join the Final Ruemba! Exciting and colourful Rotuman Zumba led by Ricco Panapasa.

1pm - The History of Rotuma Day: If you didn't know the history behind Rotuma Day then don't forget to tune in. In partnership with Pacific Education Centre.

5-7pm - Rotuma Day 140th Anniversary Celebrations in Wellington. To register email hata.committee@gmail.com

Join the members of the New Zealand Rotuman Fellowship in Wellington in this celebration of culture and koroa (treasures), the Rotuman-New Zealand way at Te Papa Museum, Wellington.

6pm - Rotuma Day Celebrations in Auckland: In partnership with LIFE Soup Kitchen, dinner will be shared with communities, Wesley Community Centre.

7pm - Polynesian Panthers 50th Anniversary Talanoa with Will 'Ilolahi. Cutting of Rotuma Day Cake and singing of Rotuman songs, Wesley Community Centre, Auckland.


10am-2pm - Manea (Games): Opening Prayers by Toma Vaurasi and snippets of Rotuman history, cultural games and sampling of Rotuman food at Te Puke Otara Community Centre, Auckland.

1pm - Rotuman Poem: Composed by Tui Pesamino.

3pm - Fekei Making with Mairani Group.

6pm - All Zoomed-out: Rako in a Covid-19 world!

Like many Rotuman kainaga (family) around the world, the islanders will also share their online learning experiences as Rotuman families and learners of all ages. Facilitated by some amazing educators and parents of the Rotuman Community in Aotearoa. Join the youthful panel discussing the highs, lows and learnings of a Covid-19 World!

7:30pm - Hanuju (storytelling). Share a story from Rotuma.

6:30-8:30pm - Children's Fere Friday. To register email hata.committee@gmail.com

Children get the chance to jump as high as they can at JUMP Avondale hosted by Kingsland Rotuman Methodist Congregation and supported by the Auckland Methodist Central Parish and the Methodist Church of NZ at JUMP Avondale.


7am - Devotion & Majesty Song: Pastor Mike Sikuri and the Canterbury community.

10am - Kato'aga Closing Ceremony and first To'a Awards at the Lesieli Tonga Auditorium in Favona, Mangere.

To register email hata.committee@gmail.com

11am - Rotuman Showcase at Auckland War Memorial Museum. Welcome.

11.30am - Rotuman cultural dance performances.

12pm - Hula and Samba to Rotuman Music by Danni Freeman.

12.15pm - Activities and Displays at Tefui/Para Station and snippets of Rotuman history by Jioje Fatiaki.

1.30pm - Fijian meke dance performances by Te Mana Performing Arts.

1.50pm - Words of Thanks by Fereti Fatiaki in Rotuman, Rachael Mario in English and Prayers by Toma Vaurasi from the Auckland Rotuman Fellowship Group, Auckland War Memorial Museum.


.. Photo: Supplied