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Celebrations for Kiribati's 38 years of independence

13 July 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

Preparations are underway in Auckland for the Kiribati community, celebrating 38 years of the Pacific Island nation's independence. 

The Republic of Kiribati gained independence from British colonial rule on July 12, 1979.

New Zealand Kiribati Council Vice Chair, Tibwere Tauma, says it's a proud time for their country.

"We're proud that we're in New Zealand and we need to show that we come from Kiribati and we have our own culture and langauge," he says. 

There's a small community of around 1600 I-Kiribati living in New Zealand.

Tauma says the celebrations also allow them to teach and pass on their culture to the younger generation.

 "If we're not teaching them about their language and culture and traditional dances, they might lose it," he says. "They might be called lost people in the future because they don't know where they come from."

Kiribati consists of 33 atolls, with a population of 112,423 recorded in 2015.

New Zealand Kiribati National Council Chairperson, Etau Erika, says while there's a lot to celebrate, they're also mindful of the impact climate change is having on their homeland.

"If this is going to continue, we're going to lose all the islands and that means we lose our culture as well," he says.

Tags: Kiribati,