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The diversity of Pacific people in Aotearoa

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A fia vave o’o lou va’a, alo na o ‘oe, ae a fia tuli mamao, le taunu’uga tatou ‘alo’alo faatasi.
If you want to go fast in your journey, go alone; if you want to go far, we embrace everyone and go together.

This Samoan alagaupu or proverb emphasizes the importance of teamwork and diversity, and taking the time to appreciate the journey, rather than just focusing on getting to the destination quickly and on your own.

It is important to celebrate and appreciate the different cultures of Pacific peoples because they are a significant part of the world's cultural heritage. Recently, more and more people are recognising and respecting the diverse cultures of Pacific peoples, and there is a growing desire to keep Pacific languages and traditions alive.

Image: Students from Tamaki College by Tamaki College.

Did you know that there are many small islands in the vast Pacific Ocean, each with its own unique culture, language, and history? These island nations are often far apart from each other, which has led to distinct customs and traditions.

Image: Oceania political map by PeterHermesFurian

In Polynesia, for example, which includes Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, and Niue, there are many differences in language, dress, ceremonies, and customs, even though they are located close to each other. Pacific peoples have a deep connection to the ocean, which is why many of their practices revolve around fishing, navigation, and ocean-going voyages. In fact, some of their creation stories are based on these voyages. 

Did you know that there are over 380,000 Pasifika people in Aotearoa New Zealand? That's over 8 percent of the population! Pacific peoples make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in New Zealand after people of European, Māori, and Asian descent. (Source: Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa).

Image: Pacific flags by LEARNZ

One unique fact about Pacific peoples in New Zealand is that unlike most of the rest of the population, which is ageing, more than half of Pacific people in New Zealand are under twenty years old. This means that young people are an important part of Pacific culture in New Zealand, and their traditions will continue to be passed down to future generations.

Image: Young student by Tamaki College.

Inclusion and diversity are essential for a thriving community, just like working together to enjoy the journey and reach a destination. By celebrating and respecting the different cultures of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand, we can all contribute to creating a vibrant and inclusive society.

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