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Wednesday, 20 June 2018 10:39 pm

Young Fijians target of language week

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SPEAKING FIJIAN: Mere Tora, Acting Head of the Fiji High Commission, at Monday’s launch. IMAGES: Kawe Roes

YOUNG people at the back of church playing on their phones are one of the targets for the the inaugural Fijian Language week launched on Monday.

Wellington Methodist Parish office manager Ledua Taucilagi said the week would help the many Fijian’s born in New Zealand who understand parts of the Fijian language but can’t really speak it.

“When we have our services most of the young people are at the back playing on their phones because they don’t understand what’s going on in the pulpit,” she said

Ms Ledua said the week was already helping to encourage younger Fijians to develop a sense of pride in their culture through participating in workshops about culture and customs.

A range of events are aimed at revitalising and showcasing Pacific language and culture in New Zealand’s Fijian community.

Events include sport, performing arts and cultural workshops.

A Fijian Film Festival is screening several Fijian films throughout the week at the Film Archives and Te Papa.

This year’s theme is ‘Noqu Vosa, Noqu iYau Talei: My Language, My Treasure’, and it encourages anyone who identifies as Fijian or interested in Fijian culture to take part.

A Youth and Family Fiji Day celebration is being held at Victoria University on Thursday, and a cultural workshop and speech competition is at Linden Hall, Tawa, on Friday.

The week is promoted by the Auckland Fijian Community, the Wellington Fijian Language Week Komiti and the Canterbury Fiji Community.

This year marks the first time Fijian language is be part of the yearly Pacific Language Week line-up, which has held events for other Pacific cultures earlier on this year.

The language week coincides with Fiji’s Independence Day on Thursday, which Taucilagi says is also helping to bring the Fijian community together.

In a press release Pacific Island Affairs Minister Hekia Parata said: “The Fijian community in New Zealand is small, but passionate. They recognise the importance of safeguarding their language and culture for future generations”.

In Wellington the week wraps up on Sunday with a combined church service at Wesley Church, Taranaki St.

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