Sāmoan Language Week — 28 May to 3 June

The Samoan language is the third most commonly spoken language in New Zealand, immediately following English and te reo Maori.

Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa: Sāmoan Language Week is a great opportunity to think about how you can keep Samoan identity, culture and language 'alive to thrive' in your library and across your school.

This year's theme

The theme for this year is: 

Ma’au i lou ofaga. Maua’a lou fa’asinomaga — Keep your identity alive to thrive.

Proudly supported by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa is a great opportunity for all New Zealanders to celebrate Samoan culture and language. The Ministry provides a range of supporting materials and resources to help celebrate Sāmoan Language Week, including a calendar of national events, gagana Sāmoa salutations, and a range of great learning resources.

Samoan women performing at Lepea Village Samoan women performing in Samoa, Julia Brooke-White, 1996. Ref: PA12-7270-06

Celebrate Samoan culture and language in your school

Here are some ideas and resources to help you celebrate.


  • Set up a display of all the books and resources you currently have about Samoa.
  • Display the proverbs for this year in your library or classroom — or use them as interesting starters for writing poetry or prose, or creating posters.
  • Explore the NZ Pacific Picture Book Collection collection to find out about great picture books that are supported with curriculum activities.
  • Look for local events, including at public libraries, that your students can get involved in. Or host an event yourself!
  • Find a speaker of gagana Sāmoa to come and read to your students so they can hear and enjoy what the language sounds like.

A wealth of digital resources to support gagana Sāmoa

There are many digital resources that you can use in your school throughout Sāmoan Language Week and beyond. Here are some you might find useful:

From Services to Schools and the National Library

  • Samoa Topic Explorer set — from the fascinating history of Samoan tatau (tattoo) and siva (dance) to rappers Dei Hamo and King Kapisi, explore these multimedia resources that feature Samoa’s extraordinary culture and its inextricable links with New Zealand.
  • DigitalNZ content about Samoa — search for ‘Samoa’ and you can create your own set of photos, articles, audio, etc. Students can create their own sets as well. These could be used for a variety of teaching and learning activities — from looking at the history of Samoa to getting students to create digital stories about aspects of Samoan language or culture.
  • Samoan newspapers in Papers Past — a great resource to explore Samoa’s past through primary sources. Use the title search to find these newspapers.

Other digital resources

  • Gagana Sāmoa Pasifika dual language books available through Literacy Online — these are available in both English and gagana Sāmoa text and audio forms.
  • Pasifika Digital Legends on WickEd — digital picture books of legends from throughout the Pacific, including How fire came to Sāmoa and The magic seashell.
  • Fāgogo fables from Samoa — these are available in both English and gagana Sāmoa text and audio forms.
  • The Coconet — explore a wealth of learning resources from animated legends to cooking, and to songs from across the Pacific, including Sāmoa.

Keep up the good work in your library

Keep on building an inclusive collection — including books and other resources about Samoa or in gagana Sāmoa.

Ma’au i lou ofaga. Maua’a lou fa’asinomaga

So, Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa: Sāmoan Language Week is a great way to celebrate the third most spoken language in Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Samoan culture and heritage.

From fun activities during the week, to increasing access to Samoan books and resources in your library long term, think about how you can contribute to keeping gagana Sāmoa alive and thriving!

la soifua ma ia mauia — be well and prosper

By Samuel Beyer

Samuel is the Senior Specialist (Online Learning) for Services to Schools.

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John Waweru May 30th at 6:25PM

Keep up the good work in your library.