Pacific Languages Bill Petition [Pacific Education Plan] [Pacific Languages Strategy] [Human Rights][Tupu & Folauga Literacy]

Pacific Islands Polynesian Education Foundation Act 1972


Questions and Answers about the Draft Pacific Languages Bill- Act of Parliament
What is the Pacific Languages Bill asking for?
Recognition of the five main Pacific languages in New Zealand as official minority / community languages so Pacific children have the right and the opportunity to grow up speaking, reading, and writing in their own heritage language/s and English from a young age in the public domains of NZ society.
What are the staged (over time) provisions of the Pacific Languages Bill?
  • Immediate national recognition and official status in state and local body activities—staged over time resourcing
  • Immediate official approval and staged support for educational provisions involving language maintenance and revival including choice of Immersion ECE and Bilingual Education for sector for Pacific families
  • Immediate establishment of Pacific Languages Commissioners leading to a later staged Pacific Language Commission charged with advising on modernising, maintaining and reviving the languages.
  • Links with Language Comissioners in Pacific Island nations
  • Staged over time -Right of use in a staged way in legal proceedings.
Why is this Pacific Languages Bill needed?
Pacific students will soon make up 25% of NZ society. They can only contribute to the wealth and economic success of NZ if they succeed in school. Bilingual Education will help them. A well educated, well qualified contributing Pacific workforce is very unlikely under current policies.
At present in spite of the political parties saying they have a special place in NZ society, Pacific languages in NZ have no more status or special place than -French Russian, or Japanese. As the Minister of Education Anne Tolley showed, literacy materials in Pacific languages have been be cut because of this. So have the language goals for Pacific languages which have been removed from the Pacific Education Plan 2009-2012. These actions are a major injustice and insult to Pacific people and hurt deeply.
Recent research shows several Pacific languages will disappear from NZ and the Islands unless NZ society offers more support to them. If they do not survive here, they will not survive anywhere. We cannot be the generation that allowed them to die out and vanish from the face of the earth.
Why should Pacific languages receive special legal status?
“We are a Pacific country, we Pacific people already have a special relationship with NZ” Some of theses are-
NZ has a Ministry of Pacific Affairs; A Pacific Education Plan; A Pacific Tertiary Strategy, A Pacific health plan, An Auckland Pacific Advisory Panel, A Pacific Forum and Secretariat of the Pacific Community;… Niue, Tokelau and Cook Islanders are all NZ citizens not foreigners or migrants or outsiders.
Four languages have historical legal and /or constitutional status- Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands, and Samoa as their citizens are all NZ citizens and their islands are Governed by the Queen /Governor General as part of the legal Realm of NZ. Samoa because of the Treaty of Friendship, from NZ’s administration of Samoa 1918-1962 when Samoans were NZ citizens. Tonga as the fifth as a British protectorate and therefore, our long historical and Pacific relationships making Pacific peoples part of the fabric of NZ society
Read the Pacific Peoples Constitution Report:

Inquiry into NZ’s Relationship with South Pacific Islands- Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade

Which languages does it cover?
The five main Polynesian Pacific languages which the Tupu and Folauga reading materials are published in. These are countries with which NZ has longstanding historical, legal, constitutional and family relationships. We are a Pacific country.
What will it cost?
Giving legal recognition to our languages costs nothing now except the cost of the paper to print the Bill on. It simply formalizes the reality of the current NZ situation. We are suggesting the Bill’s provisions to allow children to grow up speaking and passing on our languages to the next generation. Provision will remove restrictions grant official approval immediately and resourcing only gradually come into force over a period three years to allow the economy to recover.
How will it affect you and your family?
  • As a non Pacific NZer your lives will be enriched by having Pacific languages and cultures as part of the fabric of NZ society- In fact we thought it already was?
  • As a Pacific person who speaks the languages, it helps ensure your language will survive here in NZ with the status and recognition the law says it deserves.
  • As a family who have lost their language it will provide in time, for the revival and maintenance of your languages for you children and grandchildren to come.
What happens if we do not pass this Bill?
Pacific languages, cultures and peoples will continue to have low or no legal status in NZ and children will be reluctant to use them, even though their families continue to use them at home and at church. The languages face the same issues Te Reo Maori faced in the 1970s and 1980s. Pacific peoples may be NZ citizens, but apparently we are still to be treated as outsiders, new comers and second-class citizens.
Human Rights Commission (2010) Languages in Aotearoa Draft Statement on Language Policy Click here to download

I thought Pacific languages and cultures were already part of the fabric of NZ society?
So did we, apparently, they are but NOT legally as they have no official legal recognition and status.
What can you do to help?
Write and email to the Prime Minister below and ask him to pass the Pacific Languages Bill.
Go and see your own local MP from any party, take the information sheets with you and ask them to support and pass the Pacific Languages Bill.
John Keys webpage messages-
John Key’s PM email submit- Freepost Parliament
Private Bag 18 888, Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160
Language is too important to be left in the hands of the powerful.
(Pauline Gibbons 1998- Key note speech CLESOL - Palmerstone North.)

What we can all have before Christmas -
Recognition of the five main Pacific languages in New Zealand as official minority / community languages so Pacific children have the right and the opportunity to grow up speaking reading and writing in their own heritage language/s and English from a young age.