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Fiji Language Week

Bula Vinaka!

Fiji Language Week 2020 will be held from Sunday 4 October – Saturday 10 October. The 2020 Fijian Language theme is ‘Noqu Vosa, Noqu iSema Bula’ in English, “My language, my living link”. 

This theme reflects the strength and connection a people’s language and cultural identity provide as they make their life’s journey, particularly during challenging times. Our languages are our identity and are key to our wellbeing and success.

About Fiji Language Week

Fiji flag.

Fiji Language Week provides an opportunity for students to learn, speak, and celebrate the indigenous language of Fiji, through language, song, dance, cultural displays, and community events. Fiji Language Week helps all New Zealanders journey towards shared cultural understandings. Learning a new language gives us insight into new ways of thinking, and to different beliefs and cultural practices. Through this learning we acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help us live in our culturally diverse world. 

Curriculum connections

NZC Curriculum icon.

Fiji Language Week supports the curriculum principles of cultural diversity and inclusion, and provides an opportunity for students to explore the values of diversity and respect. Students who learn about the language and culture of Fiji can make use of key competencies and achieve learning outcomes described in the learning languages and social sciences learning areas.

How can you get involved?

Some ideas for classroom programmes or school-wide activities:

Make connections to your community
There is a chance that you will have some Fijian speakers in your school community. Encourage those students and their families to be experts during Fiji Language Week and validate their expertise in front of other students. Support them to teach Fijian and prepare the Fiji Language Week celebrations for the school, placing an emphasis on shared language experiences.

Discussion starters 
Use the following questions as discussion starters with your class – "Why is it important for all New Zealanders to celebrate and learn Fijian?" "What benefits will this bring to New Zealanders of Fijian descent?" This 2013 video could be used to explore how Fijian New Zealanders are working together to protect their language and culture.  

Blowing the conch shell.

Learn some simple words and phrases
Words and phrases you could try:

  • Hello: Ni sa bula (nee sahm boola) or bula (mboola) for short
  • Goodbye: Ni sa moce (nee sa mo-they)
  • Good morning: Ni sa yadra (nee sa yandra)
  • Yes: Io (ee-o)
  • No: Sega (senga)
  • Please: Yalo vinaka (yalo vee-nahka)
  • Excuse me: Tolou (too low)
  • Thank you: Vinaka (vee-nahka)

You can use this website and information sheet to find some common Fijian terms and pronunciation tips. This video will help students practice the correct pronunciation of words and phrases. 

Learn about the meke
Learn about the meke, an indigenous Fijian song/dance that is performed by both men and women. This website explains the meke and this video shows a meke performance by the Santa Ana Fijian Youth Group.

Learn about the tabua
Watch this Tale from Te Papa to learn about the tabua, a type of Fijian cultural valuable made from polished whales’ teeth. Students can work through the accompanying questions to reflect on what they have learned from the video and make connections to their own lives. 

Pacific sounds 
Listen to traditional sounds from Fiji and compare them with the modern pacific sound of Che Fu in this activity from the Wicked website.

Legends from Fiji 
Listen to digital legends based on traditional stories from the Pacific. They have been selected and retold, in English and Pasifika languages, by New Zealand students. 

Useful resources

Ministry for Pacific Peoples – Fiji Language Week
This webpage provides information about Fiji Language Week and includes a downloadable poster, banners, a calendar of events, and messages of support. 

Fiji Language Week resource (online PDF)
This 2016 education resource was developed to support learning during Fiji Language Week. 

Pasifika Education Community
This TKI site has resources, curriculum links, and guidelines for teachers working alongside Pasifika communities.

LEAP
LEAP is a professional learning resource developed for teachers working in mainstream New Zealand classrooms with bilingual Pasifika students.

Inclusive Education Guides for Schools – Supporting Pasifika students
This guide focuses on inclusive teaching and learning strategies that can be used in the classroom to create a more effective learning environment for all Pasifika students.

Have you seen?

National events and the New Zealand Curriculum
Would you like to celebrate other Pacific language weeks at your school? Check out our calendar of national events to see what is on.

Effective teaching for Pasifika students – Language
This film shows the benefits of valuing and sharing the languages that Pasifika students bring with them into the classroom.  

Updated on: 27 May 2020


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