Centre for Pacific Languages Annual Report 2020 to 2022


It is has been an incredible journey over the past two and a half years and so much has happened since our last annual report. In reflection, it has been a journey with many trials and tribulations but the human spirit is resilient and endures all.

I begin this lauga by paying tribute to the late Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Isaia Ioane QSO, a visionary leader that laid the first foundation stone where we stand upon this day. His passing has left behind a legacy that continues to be transformative and impactful in the everyday lives of our people and future generations.

January 2020 started with the relocation to our new home in Manukau after ending our joint venture with the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT). It is indeed a blessing to have a place where we can call our own and to be located in the heart of the biggest Pasifika city in the world makes it even more
special and mafana. I am grateful to MIT for the special relationship we have shared and the support they have provided in our time as part of a very important joint venture arrangement.

In February 2020, Covid hit our shores and as we all know very well, the world forever changed. The words lockdown, social  distancing and face masks are now such a common part of our daily conversations. In response to these life changing events, we pivoted to providing our core services using newly developed online platforms such as Moodle and ZOOM and we even developed our own CPL Student learning portal, PolyeLearning. All our Pasifika language courses, a central component of our strategic objective to revitalise Pasifika languages are now taught online using video meeting technology, except our flagship Samoan Oratory course which continues to be taught face to face onsite. The ZOOM video conferencing software is a tool that has a far wider reach and we now proudly offer seven Pasifika language  courses online. We will continue to extend our suite of language programmes and seek to add depth to our current courses.

This journey has also included working alongside community leaders in taking Pacific language programmes back into the community and supporting the work that they are currently doing. We also believe that language is a collective responsibility. In that regard – we are moving to form partnerships and collaborating with Pasifika communities up and down the motu to deliver and support Pasifika language programme delivery locally. We have successfully completed our first trial of this work with a Church group in Mangere, Auckland. This has created a face-to-face platform that we will build and extend over the coming years.

In line with this strategic focus and in response to the Covid pandemic, our translation services over this period has played an instrumental part in the efforts to communicate its Covid health messages to the wider community. We are grateful to our Pasifika community of translators who have supported us in this work. In addition to this, we were able to complete a major piece of translation work for an international client – we translated their website (124,000 words) into five Pacific languages! A massive feat achieved across three months. This is an exciting development as we seek to pursue more future opportunities in this area.

Another component of our revitalising Pasifika language strategic objective, is the delivery of the Koloa cultural competency workshops. Throughout this period, we have not only strengthened the main elements of this programme but significant progress has been made in its delivery to key government agencies and corporate clients. We continue to promote this widely and aim to solidify our position as the main provider for such workshops at a national level.

Our strategic focus to advocate for sustainable language revitalisation continues as we participate in various community forums. Our involvement in the MPP Fono Faufautua forum and engagement in the Pacific Language Strategy consultation process has been rewarding. We fully support the work undertaken by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Language Unit and offer our congratulations on completing and formally launching the Pacific Language Strategy. An historic moment in our journey as Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa. This strategy offers a coherent pathway forward for all our Pacific languages. It is a collective call to action, one where we all have a part to play. Pacific languages are crucial to a thriving Aotearoa for everyone.

We acknowledge the Minister for Pacific Peoples, the Honourable Min Aupito Sua William Sio, and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples in their commitment and ongoing support of the Centre for Pacific Languages. We look forward and will continue to advocate for the establishment of a Pacific Language Commission as we seek to further embed the key objectives of the Pacific Language Strategy.

In line with this notion of a thriving Aotearoa, we are encouraged as we end this two and a half year period with an organisation that is more resilient and more prepared to face the challenges of a post Covid world. Our strategic objective to build a strong and financially sustainable organisation remains a priority. We have managed over this period to deliver on our main obligations to our cornerstone funder, the Ministry of Pacific Peoples. The multi-year contract we currently have in place has given certainty and the opportunity for us to extend our service offering as we seek to diversify our funding base.

As we come to the end of this annual period, we took another historic step forward with the formal launch of the new name for our vaka to the ‘Centre for Pacific Languages’. It is a name that has acknowledged our 40 years of history and the strategic focus that we have for next stage of our journey. It is a focus on Pacific languages and the integration of technological innovations as we seek to use digital platforms to deliver our language courses. We look forward to the delivery and the roll out of our Introduction Level Language APP in seven Pacific languages – an innovation project that Kiwa Digital is completing for us.

Although we are excited with the future ahead, the Centre for Pacific Languages acknowledges the challenges that we face. The most sobering fact is that we all know that all our Pacific languages in Aotearoa New Zealand is in decline. Some more endangered than others but all in decline. However, as the Centre for all Pacific Languages we are acutely aware that we are on the frontlines to reverse this trend – we do see a real sense of hope and optimism. We see a generation of Pacific children searching deeply for identity and connection. We have seen that effective connection and engagement with our Pacific communities in a post Covid world can be more effective in our own Pacific languages.

In ending this lauga, I am deeply grateful for the work of our current trustees for their huge passion, dedication, commitment and valuable contributions made to the Centre for Pacific Languages. I acknowledge the support and the work of the outgoing trustees during this challenging term and welcome on board our incoming trustees. We are indeed fortunate to have our own language champions and a team of governors with a deep sense of purpose and a real sense of love for Pacific languages.


  • Sala Dr Fa’asaulala Tagoilelagi-Leota
  • Ms Aiolupotea Sina Aiolupotea-Aiono
  • Dr Salainaoloa Wilson-Uili


  • Dr Linitā Manu’atu
  • Analise Robertson
  • Mr Tauopepe Abba Fidow


  • Mr Ron Viviani, Chair
  • Mr Iani Nemani, Chair, HR Sub-Committee
  • Dr Rae Si’ilata, Chair, Academic Sub-Committee
  • Mr Eli Tagi, Chair, Finance, Audit and
    Risk Sub-Committee
  • Dr Jean Mitaera, Academic Sub-Committee

We also acknowledge the incredible mahi and dedication of our CEO over this very challenging and difficult term. Fakaaue Lahi to our CEO, Tuiloma Gayle Lafaiali’i and her team, including our language tutors and contractors who have contributed to the work of the Centre for Pacific Languages over the last two and a half years.

We are grateful to our learners, funders and all stakeholders. We also acknowledge the community organisations and individuals who support us and our work. I am always reminded by the words of our trustee Dr Rae Si’ilata, that the task that we have set ourselves is one of great significance and one of great responsibility. A task that requires collective action and a shared sense of purpose. We all have a role to play.

Kia Fakaalofa mai Atua – Kia Monina

Tuiloma Gayle Lafaiali'i (CEO)

CEO - Tuiloma Gayle Lafaiali'i

"There’s a saying ‘without language, there is no culture. Without culture, the village is in darkness.’ In summary, lest we forget the language of our inheritance. We hold these classes to prevent us from living in darkness."


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