This week is the 2022 Tongan Language Week.
It is a week to celebrate the importance of the Tongan language within New Zealand.
The theme for Tonga Language Week this year is Ke tu’uloa ‘a e lea faka-Tonga’ ‘i Aotearoa, which translates to: Sustaining the Tongan Language in Aotearoa.
Statistics show that Tongans were the fastest-growing Pacific ethnic group in New Zealand in recent years, with their numbers increasing more than threefold between 1986 and 2006. Between 2013 and 2018, the Tongan population in Aotearoa increased by 20,000.
However, only 12% of Tongans under the age of 15 spoke the language – a decline of 9% since 2006.
Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio is using this Tongans to embrace Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e lea faka-Tonga (Tonga Language Week 2022) to help stop the decline in its use by the New Zealand-born Tongan population.