Samoan Language Week 2019
‘Lalaga le si‘osi‘omaga mo se lumana‘i manuia’ – Weave an environment for a better future’
‘The Samoan Language Week 2019 was officially launched on Monday 27th May at Wansolara Space in the Kelburn Library. The event was well attended by students and staff of Victoria University and was opened with a mihi whakatau by Dr Mike Ross and prayer by Rev Sonny Taimalelagi. Among the dignitaries were the Samoa High Commissioner H.E Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan, Reverend Ministers, CEO for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Laulu Mac Leauanae, AVC Pasefika Hon. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, Chief Librarian Janet Fletcher and Head of School Associate Professor Sally Hill.
The theme for the week is ‘Lalaga le si‘osi‘omaga mo se lumana‘i manuia’ – Weave an environment for a better future’. Students of the programme welcomed the distinguished guests with an ‘ava ceremony followed by formalities. The speeches highlighted the value of understanding language, identity and culture in our changing environment. In addition, was a special emphasis on Samoan studies programme as Victoria University is the only university in New Zealand that offers a major in Samoan language.
Throughout the week, students were assessed in various activities including speeches, debate, sharing and dramatizing mythologies, dances, singing, weaving and other fun activities to celebrate the importance of Samoan language and culture. There were colourful performances by students of Mata‘upu Tau Samoa, scholarship students from Samoa, VUSSA, St Marys College and Wellington College.
‘It is always an exciting time for students in Mata’upu Tau Samoa as SLW is a culmination of their work during the trimester. Although it could also be stressful for some students, but all are given the opportunity to showcase their understanding and passion in Gagana Samoa’ says lecturer Niusila Faamanatu-Eteuati.
Students established bonds and valuable friendships throughout their preparations and group performances. Another significant highlight was having non-Samoan students presenting speeches and taking part in dancing, singing and other interactive events which we are appreciative of their interest.
This provided a holistic teaching and learning environment by embracing all languages and cultures within the university reinforcing the theme of the week ‘Weave an environment for a better future. Niusila Faamanatu-Eteuati acknowledged all the support from colleagues in Va‘aomanu Pasefika, colleagues in SLC, students, VUW Library and IT staff, the Samoan community in Wellington and everyone who contributed to the success of SLW 2019.
A heartfelt fa‘afetai tele to Head of School Associate Professor Sally Hill, the wonderful colleagues at LLC and SLC for translating the theme into 11 other languages. Wishing all students, the very best for their upcoming exams. May you continue to embrace your language and culture by communicating their values and distinctiveness in our learning environment. Soifua ma ia manuia.
To see more photos of the events throughout Samoan Language Week, click here.