By Mabel Muller - firstname.lastname@example.org
They make up just over one per cent of the Pacific population in Aotearoa, but Tuvaluans' passionate celebration of their culture makes up for their lack in numbers.
Celebrations at the launch of Tuvalu Language Week in Auckland. Photo/ PRN.
Members of the small but lively Tuvalu community gathered in Auckland on Friday night to launch Fiafiaga o te gana Tuvalu mo ana tuu mo iloga - Celebration of the Tuvaluan Language and Culture.
The theme for the week is Fano ki mua kae sa puli tou iloga - Progress to thrive, not forgetting your roots.
Tuvalu community in Auckland. Photo/ PRN.
Tuvaluan community leader Fala Haulangi says it's a reminder to New Zealand-born Tuvaluans of who they are and where they come from.
"It's encouraging our Tuvaluan children to be the best in everything they do, not forgetting where they come from and the values their parents and grandparents instilled in them," she says. "That's what makes you different from other people."
The 2013 Census found 3537 Tuvaluans in New Zealand and more than half of them being able to speak the gana.
Tuvalu's High Commissioner to New Zealand, Paulson Panapa, says Tuvalu Language Week is about more than just preserving language.
"It's not only about language but it's about our traditions, our culture and our values," he says.
Tuvalu High Commissioner to New Zealand, Paulson Panapa. Photo/ PRN.
Speech competitions, arts and crafts workshops and different events will be held around the country until October 8.
Tuvalu artefacts at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo/ PRN.