Performing Artist, academic, and community advocate Ras Judah Seomeng migrated here, along with his family, from Botswana, Africa over 18 years ago looking for greener pastures. Currently at the beginning of his PHD candidature at Auckland University, he works for Change Makers Resettlement Forum – A Wellington-based, not-for-profit organisation that supports refugee migrants with resettlement processes, assisting them with the challenges they experience in Aotearoa New Zealand, helping them navigate a new culture and existence. Seomeng speaks about Mother Languages Day 2023 and discusses the effects of living in places where the commonly spoken language isn’t your own mother tongue or first language.Read more

The theme for Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa – Sāmoan Language Week 2022 is Fa’aāuāu le Folauga i le Va‘a o Tautai – Continue the Voyage with Competent Wayfinders of the Ocean. In Sāmoan society, the tulāfale or orator has a wayfinding role. Through their lāuga (oratory) they represent the interests of ali‘i in any formal occasions or events. They are the mouthpiece of families, villages and districts and are influential in directing ceremonies, presentations and cultural protocols. Curator Pacific Histories and Cultures Sean Mallon looks at the material culture of the tulāfale – the tools and accessories of their trade.Read more

NZSL, or New Zealand Sign Language, is one of New Zealand’s three official languages. As the NZSL Act reflects, it’s a distinct language, with its own grammar, not a signed version of a spoken language – English, in fact, is a second language for many Deaf people. Yet NZSL has been largely invisible in our cultural landscape.

Te Papa now has its own NZSL Mobile Guide, a new mobile-optimised web application for Deaf visitors and online audiences. Digital Producer Amos Mann takes us through the project.Read more

A group of 16 students in Tongan dress pose for a group photo

This year’s theme for Uike Kātoanga‘i ‘o e lea faka-Tonga | Tongan Language Week is “Fakakoloa ‘o Aotearoa ‘aki ‘a e Ako Lelei”, which means “enriching Aotearoa with holistic education”. Guest writer Malia Pole‘o shines a light on how a holistic education is beneficial for Tongan learners today – and for future generations.Read more

A woman sits on a chair in the middle of a room, being interviewed by another woman sitting opposite her. A large light shines on the subject

Today we’re publicly kicking off Voices of Asian Aotearoa. Under this initiative, we’ll be generating a variety of projects focused on the languages and cultural identities of different Asian New Zealand communities. Curator Grace Gassin introduces our first project, Chinese Languages in Aotearoa, which also includes a callout for the next stage – illustrators, we’d like to hear from you!Read more

palm trees on a beach with the sea in the background

The theme for Cook Islands Language Week 2020 is Kia pūāvai tō tātou reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani i Aotearoa, That the Cook Islands Māori language may blossom throughout New Zealand. Kaitiaki Taonga Collection Manager Humanities Grace Hutton looks at some of the history of the names and languages of the different islands that make up the Cook Islands archipelago.  Read more

Close up of a woman, showing her dress and a belt made of coconut, shell, and palm frond

Rose Namoori-Sinclair is from Tabiteuea Island in Kiribati. She is currently working as UN Coordination Specialist – Kiribati. Her extensive research background, as part of a PhD research with the Pacific Studies Programme within Va‘aomanū Pasifika at Victoria University of Wellington, has focused on the health and wellbeing issues of Pacific women. We asked Rose some questions about the significance of te taetae ni Kiribati (Kiribati language) in Aotearoa New Zealand.Read more

Red pandanus seed pods joined together and shown in two rows on a white background

So’o se gagana lava e iai ona suiga. O nei suiga e afua mai la tā fa’aaogāina ‘o le gagana. ‘O la tā fa’aaogāina fo’i o le gagana, e afua mai i lo tā fa’asinomaga. Mo le Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa 2020, ua matou vala’auliaina ai le Susūga ia Le’ausālilō Lupematasila Fata ‘Au’afa Dr. Sadat Muaiava e fa’asoa i lana su’esu’ega sa fai mo lana fa’ailoga ‘o le Foma’i ‘o le Tōfā Manino, lea sa ia sa’ili’ili ai ‘i suiga ‘o le gagana Samoa mai le tausaga e 1906 seia o’o i le tausaga e 2014. ‘O Le’ausālilō ‘olo’o faiāoga nei i le Mataupu Tau Samoa i le Iunivesite o Vitoria, Uelegitone, i Niu Sila. Read more

Red pandanus seed pods joined together and shown in two rows on a white background

Language changes over time, and the way we speak is influenced by who and where we are and how we are putting language to use. For Sāmoan Language week 2020, we have invited Le’ausālilō Lupematasila Fata ‘Au’afa Dr Sadat Muaiava to share some insights from his doctoral research on Sāmoan language change from 1906–2014. Le’ausālilō, is a lecturer in the Sāmoan Studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.Read more

Sepia image of 15 people sitting on flax mats under trees

Ka whakanuia tētahi o ngā reo onge rawa o te ao e te Wiki o te Reo Rotuman. Mā Jacki Leota-Mua, arā, ko te Mātanga Hōtaka Iwi Whānui, rātou ko ngā mema o te hapori o Rotuman tātou e kawe atu i te haumarutanga o ngā poihau rāhui ki Rotuma, e 500 manomita ki te raki o Whītī, ki te rapu kōrero anō mō ngā hui whakanui kava a tēnei motu.Read more