Samoan Language Week starts today

Samoan Language Week runs from 29 May until 4 June. Samoan is the third most spoken language in New Zealand and UC currently has around 200 students of Samoan descent. We asked one of our Samoan students, Wilson Uliano, to talk about why the week is important for him.


Talofa Lava,

My name is Wilson Uliano and this week is Samoan Language Week or Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa. The theme is ‘E felelei manu, ae ma’au i o latou ofaga’, meaning ‘birds migrate to environments where they survive and thrive’.

Samoan Language Week is a great time for New Zealanders, especially students , to explore the values of Samoan culture and to embrace the language and symbols of Samoa. A great place to start is this education resource. The week is also important for Samoan people to be able to maintain their culture or enhance their current knowledge.

Photo: Wilson (right) with fellow UC Samoan student Viane Makalio at the recent Growing Pasifika Solutions conference in Auckland.
Photo: Wilson (right) with fellow UC Samoan student Viane Makalio at the recent Growing Pasifika Solutions conference in Auckland.

For me, Samoan Language Week is important because it is a chance for non-Samoans to be able to speak the language, embrace the culture, and even experience some amazing Samoan food – for example Chop Suey. Keep an eye on the UC Pacific Development Team and University of Canterbury Samoan Students’ Association (CUSSA) Facebook pages this week for some fun language videos.

People are also able to engage with their aiga or family and for non-Samoans, they are able to learn fa’a Samoa – the Samoan way. Christchurch City Libraries also have some fun family events planned for the week.

For myself, growing up in a full Samoan family is amazing and usually Samoan Language Week is a time for me to be proud of where I come from, be proud of my family and our traditions, and be proud of who I am as a Samoan.

Faafetai Lava

– Wilson Uliano

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