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The Community Celebrates Te Taetae ni Kiribati 2023

Kiribati communities began their celebration of Tungaru language from Sunday, as Wikin te Taetae ni Kiribati (Kiribati Language Week) got underway.

It has been a busy week at the Centre for Pacific Languages as it supports the Kiribati community with their language week celebrations.  These activities also include the Independence Day celebrations for Kiribati.  Although the Kiribati community is one of the smaller Pacific groups in Aotearoa - they are most determined when it comes to language and culture revitalisation.

This year, the Te Onikabwebwe Women's Club and the NZ Kiribati National Council started their week of activities on Saturday with a full day workshop hosted at the Centre for Pacific Languages.  The workshop focused on learning the art of constructing a traditional Kiribati Te mwaneaba (the traditional meeting-house) - by building a model.  The traditional meeting-house is central to social existence on the isolated coral atolls that form Kiribati. It is a place of tradition and ritual.  In te mwaneaba the seating positions of the old men of
the village (unimwane) demonstrate their hierarchy. It is also a place of formal decision making and significant social events.

Kiribati Workshop 2 July 23

The day was one of fun and sharing with family and friends all enjoying the workshop.  A number of young people were involved in the workshop, led by the elders of the Kiribati community.  The participation of the young people has been a central focus of the Kiribati community this week - as they push to save their language and the culture for the next generation.  Although there are 50% of i-Kiribati in New Zealand that speak the language - the numbers were lower for those under the age of 15 (Pacific Language Strategy data).

Kiribati Workshop 3 July 23

In addition, the Kiribati community spent Wednesday, show casing a number of cultural performances at the Westfield Shopping Mall in Manukau and the Southmall Shopping Centre in Manurewa.  The group leader and a language champion for te taetae ni Kiribati, Kinaua Ewels, as with past language week celebrations, has been a driving force for the activities for this year.  Her passion to promote and the raise the profile of the Kiribati language in Aotearoa has been inspiring.  Kinaua and the group will be traveling down to Invercargill to complete the festivities with the gathering of all Kiribati communities from around Aotearoa to celebrate the Kiribati Independence Day 2023.

Kiribati Community July 23

The Centre for Pacific Languages would like to say Thank You - Kam bati ni rabwa. It has been a pleasure for Alfie, Meritiana and the team from the Centre for Pacific Languages to host the Te Onikabwebwe Women's Club and the NZ Kiribati National Council as part of the wikini te taetae ni Kiribati - Kiribati Language Week 2023.

CPL and Kiniua Jul 2023
Kiribati Workshop July 23

“Tungaru is the name given to the people of Kiribati by their ancestors, with the Tungaru culture and language playing a pivotal role in identity and wellbeing,” Minister for Pacific Peoples Edmonds said.

Kiribati Workshop 4 July 23


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