Over 3500 Tuvalu descendants live in New Zealand. According to the 2013 census, a large majority live in Auckland. In the wake of Tuvalu Language Week this week, one member of the Auckland Tuvalu society says the culture is alive and thriving.
According to Solia Kefa, “I’m proud to be Tuvaluan because we are a small nation on earth, we come from a small country but it is full, once you're in Tuvalu it feels complete because of all the support and warmth that you get from your family and the community.”
It's a language rarely spoken in New Zealand, but there are around 13,000 people who speak the language worldwide.
Sagaa Malua says, “We need to keep the language alive, especially for our young ones that are growing up, the language is so special because it's different from all the other cultures.”
The theme of Tuvalu Language Week is "Tau gana ko tou lloga - Language is your Identity".
“We need to keep the language alive, especially for our young ones that are growing up, the language is so special because it's different from all the other cultures,” said Kefa.
The small island nation is under threat by rising sea levels. Malua says the survival of the culture and language is paramount.
“Because of the climate change affecting our country and people immigrating off of Tuvalu, it's important that we promote the language so that people feel that the language is a part of them.”
To celebrate Tuvalu Language Week, there are Tuvalu language workshops and cultural performances being held in Auckland, Ōtaki, Wellington and Canterbury.