Be proud of who you are and your cultural identity.
That’s the message Auckland Council’s three Samoan councillors want to convey, not just to Samoans but to all Aucklanders.
Samoan Language Week runs from 27 May to 2 June and Councillor Josephine Bartley says it’s a great time to learn more about the Samoan language but also a reminder to appreciate your own cultural identity.
“I think it’s important celebrating Samoan Language Week because it’s a chance to actually consider and celebrate your identity."
"Not just for Samoans, but for all cultures to continue to celebrate who they are.”
Councillor Fa'anana Efeso Collins, who is a former lecturer at Auckland University’s School of Education, says being bilingual can be a precursor for being more successful in life.
“The educational data is really clear, if you start off with your origin language that you speak at home and then you pick up English, you’re going to be a bit brighter because you’ve got the brain working in a number of ways.”
It's never too late to learn
Councillor Alf Filipaina didn’t grow up learning his father’s language but that hasn’t stopped him from learning what he can as an adult – something he encourages others to do too.
“We weren’t taught Samoan, even though my father was Samoan. That’s why I’m learning off them [Cr Collins and Cr Bartley] and I’m learning off my Samoan friends in the Police.”
The three councillors have a busy week planned; visiting schools, attending performances and partaking in celebrations all around Auckland.
“Our family will be celebrating Samoan Language Week by going along to a lot of events,” Cr Collins says. “But the best way we try and celebrate is to speak it as much as we can.”