Efforts to save Rotuman Language to continue in June

Efforts to save the endangered language of Rotuma following the successful debut of Rotuman Language Week, from May 6 to May 13, continue on in June. The Rotuman Youth of New Zealand (RYNZ) and the NZRF Mairani Rotuman group will be hosting internationally-acclaimed Rotuman and Fijian group Rako Pasefika for the first time in Aotearoa from the 25th to 29th of June.



The group will arrive a week earlier for their first ever NZ showing at the Auckland Pacific Dance Festival a week earlier.


The arrival will come more than a month after Rotuman's debut on the Pacific language week calendar in New Zealand.


Rotuman language week was a dream come true for television and documentary producer Ngaire Fuatua, who recently made a doco about her return to Rotuma and shared it as part of the week’s celebrations.


The Rotuman/Dutch Kiwi who topped the Kiwi charts for five tweeks in 1990 with her rendition of the 60s classic ‘To Sir with Love’ told RNZ she always wished for a Rotuma language week when she was growing up.


"I can't speak Rotuman and there are many Rotumans in New Zealand who can't but there are plenty who do and I think that as long as that remains they can help us non native speakers. We were brought up in an era where English was dominant, and you had to speak English well and there was no emphasis on being bilingual."


RNZ reports the Polynesian outlier located 646 kms from Suva, governed by Fiji, a population of around 2000, but the indigenous culture more closely resembles that of the Polynesian islands to the east like Tonga and Samoa.


The week just gone was organised by the Auckland Rotuman Fellowship Group, the aim is to inspire others to continue to share and use the language and pass it on to the next generation.


Which is exactly what Rako Pasefika is doing through performance.


The group will perform give festival shows from June 21 to 23- and will be the first international show to be programmed at the upcoming Pacific Dance Festival at the Mangere Arts Centre.


Rako Pasefika will then hold a number of workshops across Auckland from Monday 25 of June to the 27th to share their original Rotuman songs and dances with people across Tamaki Makaurau.


The workshops range from health and fitness workshops to cultural dance and music workshops.


For more information go to their website.