Language Celebration Guidelines - Foreword

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New Zealand is home to more than 160 languages, a reflection of our diversity. One of my priorities as Minister for Ethnic Communities is to support different languages, cultures and identities in New Zealand.

Heritage and community languages are the languages spoken by minority groups in New Zealand. Often, the term community language is also used to describe an individual’s heritage language – languages that represent the speaker's ancestral ties.

In my role, I have had the honour of attending many heritage and community language celebrations. These events are an opportunity for groups to celebrate their languages, and in doing so promote their cultures within their community and to their wider community.

All languages should be celebrated and thrive together in New Zealand. Our linguistic diversity is a national taonga that makes our community culturally rich.

Te Reo Māori is New Zealand’s heritage language and has great status. New Zealand Sign Language is New Zealand's other official language. Further, I recognise the special place that Pacific languages have in New Zealand. I would also like to acknowledge the important role New Zealand English plays in capturing our ‘melting pot’ of language and culture. As New Zealanders I believe we have the opportunity to celebrate the important role that all cultures and languages have in creating and sustaining our prosperous nation.

Languages have an important role in developing and shaping our identity. They reflect the values, customs, habits and skills of our diverse communities.

Appreciating and celebrating each other’s languages and cultures creates social unity.

I am committed to ensuring that language celebrations are community-driven and tailored to each community.

I would like to introduce the Heritage and Community Language Celebration Guidelines, which provide support to communities that wish to establish language celebrations.

These guidelines take you through the key elements involved in establishing a language celebration. The guidelines allow you to develop your own aspirations and ideas, so that your language is shaped by the needs of your community.

The 2013 Samoan Language Week vision was:

Fafaga fanau i upu ma tala. Tautala i lau gagana.
Feed the children with words and stories. Speak your language.

I hope that this vision is something we can all live by.Image Minister Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
Minister for Ethnic Communities