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It's really important

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For some parents, in particular the Tongan group at Tamaki, it is important to have the opportunity to talk in their first language. Parent Vao Soakimi discusses the importance of using the Tongan language at home, for her children, as well as being easier for her to communicate in.

Offering parents the chance to use their first language can be very positive. “I think the language, it holds some parents at home,” says Tongan parent Vao Soakimi, “but when they heard we have it in our own language … I think that is why there are more people coming in … I think that is the barrier – it’s a language barrier. But we broke that barrier now; we can talk in our own language and feel confident to come in.”


I always like to have my first language with my kids before English as a second language. So I was maybe kind of stopping them at home, and says well you’re coming at home hang your English at our gate, I like to interact with my kids in my own language and I think it is really important to have your first language because in my own view as a parent if their first language is not fluent, English is a second language is going to be broken like that, it’s like a joke: if I don’t make a joke in English I don’t laugh that much – if I have it in my own language as an example I would be way out laughing and I think the same similar way.

Published on: 22 Aug 2011