'Otou fäeag ta: rakoa, 'inea'ia, maür’akia - my language: learn it, know it, live it
(Picture caption: Members of the Rotuman community gather to practice traditional dance.)
The Rotuman Community of Aotearoa New Zealand is excited to announce its inaugural celebration of language and culture, with Rotuman Language Week, from May 6-13.
Next month’s week-long celebration of Rotuman culture is being organised by the Auckland Rotuman Fellowship Group Incorporated (ARFGI).
In another first, ARFGI has also created a language chart to help those new to the language, which will be of particular benefit for the younger generations.
Chairperson of ARFGI Faga Fasala says the group has taken the initiative to try and save the unique Rotuman language.
It hopes other ethnic groups, including Rotumans who live in other cities and countries throughout the world will be inspired to hold similar events.
“Language is what makes us who we are, and is part of our culture and identity,” Faga says.
“It is our duty to preserve this invaluable taonga.”
ARFGI hopes the week’s activities will help bring people together, and showcase Rotuman culture.
“We invite all Kiwis to come and join us, and celebrate being Rotuman,” Faga adds.
He says it has not been easy for the Rotuman community to keep its language alive in Aotearoa.
“We pay tribute to our elders and leaders, who for the last 30 years, have continued to celebrate our culture in New Zealand, and for helping keep our customs and traditions relevant.”
A separate media event is also being organised as part of the activities, in the hope this will help introduce the unique Rotuman culture to the wider-NZ public.
“Each day of the week has been allocated to the different groups within our community, with elders, youth, sports, cultural, music, advocacy and religious leaders hosting their own days.”
Rotuman people are a separate ethnic group with their own distinct language, culture and identity, and originate from the Polynesian Island of Rotuma.
Rotuma consists of the island of Rotuma and its nearby islets, and it is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 500km north of Fiji, and 500km west of Wallis and Futuna.
Rotuma was annexed by the British on May 13, 1881 (Rotuma Day).
Although Rotuma is its own nation, it is currently administered by Fiji as a dependency.
The Rotuman language is listed on the UNESCO List of Endangered Languages as "Definitely Endangered".
It is described as an “untouched paradise” with some of the world's most pristine and beautiful beaches.
For a detailed programme, resources and information, visit HERE.