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Discovering the richness of Pacific culture and heritage: Why it matters for all of us

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Kia āriki au i tōku tupuranga, ka ora uata rai tōku reo
To embrace my heritage my language lives on.

The Cook Islands proverb above shows that learning about your heritage and culture is important, as it strengthens your knowledge of language, values, and beliefs that make up your identity.

It is important to know about and value the Pacific culture and heritage of Aotearoa, not just for those with Pacific heritage, but for everyone. This way, we can remember where people come from and learn about the diversity and history of our country.

Image: Tāmaki College student leaders in their traditional Samoan costumes.

Pacific peoples have unique customs and traditions that they share with others, which helps people learn and appreciate different cultures. By celebrating these traditions, we can keep them alive and pass them on to future generations, ensuring that our cultural identity remains strong.

We can celebrate Pacific culture through dance, music, and art, bringing people together to enjoy the beauty and richness of these traditions. As the Maori proverb "Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini" says, "I come not with my own strengths but bring with me the gifts, talents and strengths of my family, tribe and ancestors." This reminds us that we are all connected to our heritage and that by celebrating our culture and traditions, we can honour and respect our ancestors and keep their legacy alive.

Image: Tāmaki College Tongan community members by Tāmaki College.

So let's embrace and celebrate the diversity of our Pacific peoples' culture and heritage in Aotearoa New Zealand, and create a vibrant and inclusive society that honours and respects our cultural identity.

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