AUT students celebrate Samoan Language Week 2024

May 31, 2024

AUT students celebrate Samoan Language Week 2024

AUT students acknowledge Samoan language and culture at Ava ceremony. Photo: Zac T Papali’i

AUT student groups Niu Collective and Maps have organised an Ava ceremony to acknowledge Samoan language week.

High Chief Leota Tuivaisigago Moroga Mamea it takes an effort to try and develop language skills with fluent speakers.

“Try and speak it.

“Us orators and the older people are happy with people who are trying to hold a conversation in Samoan.”

Gagana Samoa is the third highest spoken language in Aotearoa behind Te Reo Māori and English.

Mr Mamea was called in on short notice to help both groups with their Lauga (speaking parts).

Listen here: High chief Leota Tuivaisigano talks of his role that helped both AUT groups prepare for the Ava ceremony.

“When I got called in yesterday to help, I found that there are some missing pieces in there.

I am glad that they put this Ava ceremony themselves.”

“Most of the things, I let them do it.”

An Ava ceremony is traditionally a cultural custom that is held in a village setting. It is usually done for special occasions or bestowal of matai (chief title).

Thanks to this weeklong celebration nationwide, Samoan New Zealanders can maintain their language.

AUT student and Niu collective president Blessing Italia gives some advice on maintaining Gagana Samoa.

“Keep working towards learning your culture and acknowledging it despite the negative labels such as being called ‘plastic’,” she says.

The social media reach of Samoan language learning has been positive according to native speaker Nara Fa’amausili.

According to Fa’amausili, Tik Tok and Instagram reels have also highlighted these ceremonies and increased interest from the younger generation wanting to learn more.

“The reach is important for our younger generation. It exposes them to our culture and increases their interest further.”

The theme for Samoan language this year is: Tautua i le alofa , manuia le lumana’i. (Serving in love, for a blessed future).

WATCH: AUT Student groups Niu Collective and Maps at Ava ceremony.

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