By Gladys Hartson - email@example.com
Alofa atu nei. Alofa mai taeao.
Kindness given. Kindness gained.
This year's theme for Samoan Language Week - A call to show kindness and compassion today to bear fruits for tomorrow.
Samoan Language Week was officially launched at Fale o Samoa in Auckland last night.
Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says it's vital the Samoan language continues to be used by New Zealand-born Samoans and that it's passed on to the next generation.
At the 2013 census, 60 percent of Samoans were able to hold an everyday conversation in the language.
Aupito says it's only a small drop from the 2006 census, but he's encouraging the Samoan community across Aotearoa to remain active in promoting the language.
"When we lose it, we're going to be losing the ability, the confidence in our identity. We're going to be losing the essence of who we are. Particularly for the next generation coming through in what I'm calling the new Aotearoa New Zealand."
The reigning Miss Samoa NZ Natalie Toevai was also at the launch.
She says she's proud to see the new generation of Samoan Kiwis step up and own the language.
"Seeing the children, I'm actually quite emotional. It's a really humble remind that our language is a part of who we are as Samoans."
Fa'atili Iosua Esera, president for FAGASA an organisation that teaches the Samoan language in New Zealand is encouraging all Samoans who aren't fluent in the language to keep trying.
"Never give up... Samoan children grow up in New Zealand, they play with language and they'll pick it up."