A South Auckland school is the only primary teaching Kiribati language

July 14, 2020


Finlayson Park School in South Auckland is the only primary with a Kiribati unit.

By Paige Faigaa - Paige.faigaa@pmn.co.nz

South Auckland primary Finlayson Park is the only school in New Zealand teaching the Kiribati language. 

Finlayson Teacher Taeang Erika is proud to be the first to have a Kiribati unit.

She says: "Hopefully it will continue on and enlarge and we get more students to join in because we want the language to maintain with the culture."

She's helping a classroom of more than 20 year one to five students maintain their culture.

Erika is happy with the progress her pupils are making.

"I can see the enjoyment and I can see the students are eager to learn and they're trying. 

"When we first started they didn't want to speak the language but as we've moved on and as we encourage them to talk, they can speak it," says Erika.

Taeang Erika the teacher for the primary Kiribati classroom. 

"I can see the enjoyment and I can see the students are eager to learn and they're trying. 

"When we first started they didn't want to speak the language but as we've moved on and as we encourage them to talk, they can speak it," says Erika.

However, learning another language comes with its challenges.

Erika noticed sometimes her students would feel peer pressure.

"Because they don't want people to know they speak another language, but now they realise that having another language is a blessing to them."

She hopes the progress they're making will "get other children and parents on board, so we can carry on".

Finlayson Park pupil Raketi Teataki (bottom right). Photo credit: Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

Two of her students Raketi and Ferista shared their thoughts on why it's important to learn the Kiribati language and maintain the culture. 

Ferista believes: "If you don't learn the language, people won't know your language and If you don't know your language, nobody else will know."

While Raketi shared a similar view.

"The reason why it's important to learn our language because people ask us sometimes to speak in Kiribati and we wouldn't know how to."