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Cultural events are listed here with basic background details. For specific events, dates, and times, please see the Featured Events on the Cultural Calendar main page.




Aotearoa is predominantly monolingual with English as the common language. According to the 2018 census, 95% of New Zealanders can speak English and 78% can only speak one language, which is almost always English. The prevalence of English has led to many Pacific peoples, particularly parents, discouraging the use of their Pacific language among children. When there is value placed on Pacific languages, it is often tied to cultural and identity purposes and not to success in education and employment. Pacific peoples have increasingly adopted English as their first language, primarily because of schooling, and the perception that it enables social and occupational mobility. 

At present there is still little existing system support for learning, maintaining and using Pacific languages and a lack of coordinated, cross-sector planning and policy to support their retention and/or revitalisation. In just the last 15 years there have been significant reductions in the proportion of speakers of Pacific languages. This is particularly the case for already vulnerable realm languages, but surprisingly there are also some great losses amongst more widely spoken languages, with 16% fewer speakers of lea faka Tonga as a proportion of the total Tongan population in Aotearoa. 
In 2018, following extensive engagements with Pacific communities across Aotearoa, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples launched Lalanga Fou, which articulates the vision and journey ahead for Pacific people in Aotearoa. The first goal of Lalanga Fou aims to see thriving Pacific languages, cultures and identities and this Strategy is instrumental to advancing the goal. While the focus of the Strategy is specifically on language, it cannot be separated from identity and culture, by strengthening language we also support identity and culture to thrive. 

The vision of this Strategy, signalled in Lalanga Fou, thriving Pacific languages in Pacific Aotearoa, means that Pacific languages are valued, used and maintained in all areas of life in Aotearoa – from homes and communities to education, workplaces and Government.  Jenny Taotua 


This event will be celebrated in churches, homes, Pacific communities and other places of gatherings.  

Please see Lalanga Fou REPORT: 
For the ministry it is important to hear the voices of our people, and we need to make urgent steps to supporting Pacific languages in Aoteaora thrive! 


May 28 - June 3, 2023.


Language Week

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