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EIT celebrates Samoan Language Week with flag raising

May 31, 2024

A Samoan flag was raised at the EIT Hawke’s Bay Campus in Taradale this week to celebrate Samoan Independence Day.

A Samoan flag was raised at the EIT Hawke’s Bay Campus in Taradale this week to celebrate Samoan Independence Day and the start of Samoan Language Week.

Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa (Samoan Language Week) runs from May 27 to June 1. This year’s theme is Tautua i le alofa, manuia le lumana’i – Serve in love for a blessed future’.

It coincides with the 62nd anniversary of the passing of the Western Samoa Act by New Zealand’s parliament, which came into effect on January 1, 1962, and marked Samoa becoming a fully independent, sovereign state.

EIT Pacific Student Support Coordinator Sharon Malaitai says raising the Samoan flag on Monday was a “monumental and powerful symbol of  great honour and respect for our Pacific community at EIT and the wider Pacific community”. 

“I know raising the flag recognises our diversity and the beauty our rich culture brings will help boost the students’ morale. It is a sign of perseverance and sacrifice that our ancestors paved the way and brings a sense of pride and belonging here at EIT.”

Sharon thanked all those who attended, and the wider community for the many beautiful messages.

Distinguished members of the Samoan community also attended including Tofilau Talalelei Taufale (MNZM) who spoke. The Sacred Heart College Napier Pacific Group also performed.

Alice Godinet, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Marketing and Accounting at EIT, spoke.

The Pacific EIT student dance group were also invited to perform at the Hastings District Council’s flag raising ceremony with Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.

Executive Director, Operations Glen Harkness says: “This is an act of EIT’s commitment and recognition to our to our rich and interconnected culture that we as an institution  are very proud of and that is woven into our institutions values”.

At EIT, 714 learners identify as Pacific, of which 25 per cent identify of Samoa heritage.

Sharon has organised a number of events to “bring the community” to EIT.

They have already had a live cooking demonstration, teaching people how to make traditional panikeke and kokolaisa. On Tuesday, EIT students and local schools performed together. While on Wednesday, Miss Samoa Faafafine Annie Kaio led a class on how to make traditional Samoan head pieces.