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Protecting the endangered Vagahau Niue in New Zealand

15 October 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

Vagahau Niue Language Week officially launched in Auckland at the weekend to the voices of young New Zealand-born Niueans singing their songs with pride.

The launch of Vagahau Niue Language Week at Mangere's Favona Primary School. Photo/ PMN - Niue Ogo Motu.

The Vagahau Niue Trust has set the theme for the week - Tama Niue: Leveki Ti Ofaofa e Vagahau Niue, Niue Child: Nurture and Embrace Vagahau Niue.

The 2013 census counted 18,555 Niueans living in New Zealand with a median age of 20.4 years and more than 78 per cent born in New Zealand.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the statistics indicate a very young and fast-growing Niuean population in New Zealand, which means a responsibility by New Zealand to help protect the future of the Niuean language.

"It's exciting but it's also quite challenging... making sure the language and culture is retained. Language gives a voice to our cultural practices, our arts and our stories. Once we lose connection of that, we also lose our connections to our land, to our environment."

"The Niuean language is currently classified by UNESCO as a 'definitely endangered language'. This means that children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home and this is a real concern."

Niuean Language Week runs until October 20. 

Photo/ PMN - Niue Ogo Motu.

Tags: Niue,