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Publish Date : 04 Jun 2024
Secondary schools Samoa language debate 2024

Each year, secondary school students in the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board areas battle it out in a highly anticipated debate, a preliminary event before Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa - Samoa Language Week.

Felafolafoa'iga a aoga maualuluga, meaning the secondary schools Samoa language debate, an annual event that took place on 23 May and is proudly funded by Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board, delivered by the area’s libraries and sponsored by Pak n Save, Woolworths, Fresh Choice and Pasifika Success.

Four schools participated in two teams. Each team has a moot (manulauti) to debate about. Team one’s moot was - Ole toe tepa ile tuana`i e lelei ai ma mautu fuafuaga mo le lumana`I which means looking back at the past makes good and solid plans for the future.

Tangaroa College was affirmative and went up against the winners, McAuley High School who were negative, led by Mr Tauanu`u Tapu

The second debate saw winners Aorere College as affirmative against De La Salle College who were Negative. Their moot was - O le a`oa`oina o le fa`asamoa a le tamaititi, ole tiutefai lava lena o mātua meaning, teaching the child to speak Samoan is the responsibility of the parents.

The final award saw Latisha Pasi from Tangaroa College, led by Mrs Rasela Lafaele, win Best Speaker overall.

Board chair Tauanu’u Nick Bakulich shares, “The debate has been running for 15 years and it continues to be hugely successful and well received in South Auckland. Our funding ensures its continued success especially for our talented secondary school students, and it is woven into the 11 Pasifika Language Weeks programme here in our area.
“The board is very proud of our local libraries efforts, they put on such a great event to meet the needs of our Pasifika community, and our congratulations to all the participants and winners.

“Given our significant Pasifika and Māori community, this platform provides our students the chance to engage in friendly but thought-provoking debates with other schools in the area, showcasing their abilities, knowledge, experiences, and unique personalities. This not only fosters a healthy debating environment but also nurtures essential life skills such as collaboration and self-assurance,” says Bakulich.

The debate event plays a significant role in enriching the Samoan Language Curriculum within NCEA for students.

Local board member with local school kids for the competition.


Educators in the language from the Ministry of Education, University of Auckland, Ministry of Pacific Peoples, and Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board member Li'amanaia Lorenzo Kaisara.

Additional to language educators, past Consul General of Samoa in New Zealand, Afioga Faolotoi Reupena Pogi was in attendance and current Consul General of Samoa in New Zealand, Afioga Afemata Palusalue Faapo Lemalu as Faufautua (advisor) or Fa`atamā.

Members of the local board and community.

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