Rotuman Community Language Week from Sunday

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Fun-filled activities including cultural programmes from May 9 to 16, 2021

Venkat Raman
Auckland, May 7, 2021

New Zealand’s Rotuman community has announced that its Language Week 2021 will be held from May 9 to May 16, 2021.

Four Pillars of Wellbeing

Rachel Mario, Chairperson of the Auckland Rotuman Fellowship Group Incorporated (ARFGI), which is organising the event, said that it would be the first in a series of Pacific Language Weeks to be celebrated in New Zealand this year.

As well the Rotuman Showcase, the Programme will include Sunday’s Closing Church Service with the Ate Fak Rotuma (a traditional feast served on banana leaves, with people seated on the floor).

“Tutur häk ne mäür lelei: fak ‘ata, fak foro, ‘os a’häe ma haikainagaga” or “The four pillars of well-being: spiritual, physical, psychological and social connections” will be the theme of the Language Week in consonance with the focus on the wellbeing of our Nation and communities,” she said.

The Rotuman Showcase

Ms Mario said that ARFGI will celebrate the Rotuman language and culture with a Rotuman showcase at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Saturday, May 15, 2021.

The celebration is being hosted by the recently-setup world’s first New Zealand Rotuman Community Centre. It is a fully community-led initiative led by ARFGI.

Ms Mario said that it has been a challenge to keep the Rotuman language alive.

“Language is what makes us who we are and is part of our culture and identity. It is our duty to preserve this invaluable taonga. We invite all Kiwis to come and join us and celebrate being Rotuman. We pay tribute to our elders and leaders, who have, for the last 35 years, continued to celebrate our culture in New Zealand. We thank them for keeping our customs and traditions relevant,” she said.

About Rotuma and Rotuman

Rotuman people are a separate ethnic group with their own distinct language, culture and identity, and originate from the Polynesian Island of Rotuma.

Rotuma consists of the island of Rotuma and its nearby islets and is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, about 500 kms north of Fiji, and 500 kms west of Wallis & Futuna. It is described as an ‘untouched paradise’ with some of the world’s most pristine and beautiful beaches.

Rotuma was annexed by the British on May 13, 1881 (‘Rotuma Day’). Although Rotuma is its own nation, it is currently administered by Fiji as a dependency.

The Rotuman language is listed on the UNESCO List of Endangered Languages as “Definitely Endangered.”

For more information, please call Rachel Maio on 021-2559956, Victoria Molia (General Treasurer) on 021-1556670 or Tupou Mafileo (Deputy Treasurer) on 021-0402334. Email: info@rotuma.org

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