As I write this on Wednesday 1st June 2022 today is the 60th Anniversary of Samoa’s Independence celebrations. It is also Samoan language week and the theme for this week is: Fa’aāuāu le Folauga i le Va’a o Tautai - Continue the Voyage with Competent Wayfinders of the Ocean.

As part of this year’s overarching theme of ‘Sustainability’, the Samoan community chose a theme that would reflect the journey of language revitalisation and maintenance as well as recognising the importance of having the right tools, good leadership skills, relationships and the correct medium (va’a) that is adaptable to faring the ocean and its elements.

Samoans are one of the fastest-growing populations in Aotearoa New Zealand with the Samoan population representing 47.9 per cent of Pacific people in Aotearoa, making it the largest Pacific population. Gagana Samoa is the third most spoken language in Aotearoa – following English and Te Reo Maori – and the second most spoken language in Auckland – after English, however its use is declining rapidly.

This year marks 12 years since Samoa Language Week has been celebrated in Aotearoa New Zealand. Following on from 2021, Samoa Language Week 2022 is led by three key organisations – FAGASA, Fotu ō Malama and SAASIA.

2022 is also a significant year for the Samoan community, being the 60th anniversary of Samoa Independence. Communities are organising activities to commemorate this milestone, which coincides with Samoa Language Week.

Samoa has a unique historical relationship with New Zealand. It is the only nation that New Zealand has a Treaty of Friendship. The Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand is about a commitment to partnership, friendship and a mutual endeavour to obtain for Tagata Samoa fuller opportunities for social progress. Language is critical in achieving this.

Activities and events will be held throughout Aotearoa to embrace and celebrate Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa and the 60th Anniversary of Samoa Independence.

This Friday I am privileged and honoured to be invited to offer a prayer at the Queens Platinum Jubilee Celebrations being held at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral at 11am 3rd June. Our Prime minister the fulfilling honourable Jacinda Ardern is hosting this event, it will conclude with lunch at Parliament. I will talk more about this event next week.

Well, it is exactly two months since I’ve been your minister and it continues to be an exciting and role. Please do let me know if you would like a pastoral visit as I am still getting used to the names and faces of everyone and would like to meet you all over a cuppa and in the comfort of your own homes particularly in this wet weather you don’t have to leave the comfort of the warmth of your lounges. I look forward to you contacting me personally at or on my cell phone 021-836-060 or you can phone me at the office during the week. Ia manuia le vaiaso o le gagana Samoa. Blessings for this week of Samoan language. Tofa soifua, Fei.

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