Stu­dents cel­e­brate

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Aotea Col­lege’s strong links with Samoan cul­ture were laid bare last week, with guests treated to speeches and dances on Wed­nes­day – one of a num­ber of lo­cal schools that held events associated to Samoan In­de­pen­dence Day and Samoan Lan­guage Week.

Prin­ci­pal Tim Davies-Col­ley said these oc­ca­sions were more than just a chance to cel­e­brate that nation’s lan­guage, it was an op­por­tu­nity to hon­our the peo­ple and the di­verse Porirua and Aotea Col­lege com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘ Lan­guage con­veys not just words, but cul­ture and mean­ing. This is a fan­tas­tic day for ev­ery­one to en­joy.’’

Race re­la­tions com­mis­sioner Joris de Bres, mean­while, said he al­ways looked for­ward to the in­vite from Aotea Col­lege for their Samoan cel­e­bra­tions. He had some sta­tis­tics to share – there are just over 600,000 Samoans around the world, with 220,000 of these in Samoa and 131,000 in New Zealand.

‘‘More and more live out­side Samoa, so it is so im­por­tant your lan­guage is prac­tised. If you teach your chil­dren and they teach their chil­dren . . . then Samoan will be spo­ken in the 22nd Cen­tury.

‘‘What we are do­ing here, now, is so im­por­tant so the lan­guage and cul­ture will be passed on through the gen­er­a­tions.’’

The hour-long event in­cluded per­for­mances from dancing groups to speeches from stu­dents flu­ent in Samoan.

Mana MP Kris Faafoi, of Toke­lau de­scent, said he was an ex­am­ple of why events such as this were im­por­tant, as some­one who needed more work on their Pa­cific Is­land lan­guage skills and de­liv­ery.

‘‘We should be proud of what we have got from the is­lands, not just in sport, but we have Samoan judges, jour­nal­ists and doc­tors.’’

Touch­ing speech: Glo­ria Vailepa had the au­di­ence spell­bound with her speech, which she de­liv­ered with­out notes. It even­tu­ally re­duced her to tears.

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