"We are the guardians of Pacific languages" - Prime Minister

June 30, 2021


The Prime Minister says they will be able to announce a new date 'shortly' for the Dawn Raids ceremony.  

She said it was a blow to postpone the event because of Wellington's change in alert level restrictions. 

"I was so disappointed.  Because I had been in the Wellington region, and so many of our really important guests at that event... we'd said to them ''don't go to large gatherings", so that was why we've had to postpone. 

Speaking to Agnes Tupou on Pacific Mornings, Jacinda Ardern is expecting the Minister of Pacific Peoples to announce the date shortly, and they are still finalising aspects of what the apology would look like.  

"Taking into account the different pacific peoples who were impacted by the Dawn Raids, how do we create a really inclusive but culturally-appropriate event, and, from the government's perspective, what does an apology often look like? How do we blend the two together and what are the things that need to sit along side an apology?"

She said implementing the Dawn Raids as core curriculum may take some time to get right. 

"There's already some schools and some students that will be learning about things like the Dawn Raids. But do we have enough of the personal accounts of those who have had that experience available for schools who are choosing to teach that? So these are things that take a bit of work and preparation."

Ardern said the teaching and inclusion of Pacific languages in school is also important. This year's Budget allocated $20.8 million towards supporting Pacific bilingual and immersion education, along with $5.1 million for the development of gagana Tokelau and vagahau Niue as NCEA Achievement Standards subjects. ​​

"We see ourselves as having an obligation to act as guardians and ensuring that we are supporting and encouraging the revitalisation of Pasifika languages in New Zealand."

Listen to the full interview here: