Pacific Peoples and their language
How to correctly name the language and people who are in the main Pacific ethnic groups in New Zealand.
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Languages of Pacific Peoples in New Zealand
Each of the main Pacific ethnic groups in New Zealand has their own language. These languages are part of their identity and culture.
With more than 60% of the Pacific population born in New Zealand, it’s important that we recognise and support these languages in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Government content for and about Pacific Peoples needs to be:
- culturally appropriate
- inclusive of everyone.
Name the Pacific languages
Correctly naming the Pacific languages is a way we can be respectful and inclusive.
|Pacific ethnic group||Pacific language||English name|
|Cook Islands||Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani||Cook Islands Māori|
|Kiribati||Te taetae ni Kiribati||Kiribati|
|Tokelau||Te Gagana Tokelau||Tokelau|
|Tuvalu||Te Gana Tuvalu||Tuvalu|
Avoid using the English name or write them both — always write the Pacific name first. For example:
- Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani (Cook Islands Māori)
- Vosa Vakaviti (Fijian).
Refer to individuals and groups
When you refer to someone from one of the main Pacific ethnic groups in New Zealand, use the following terms:
- Cook Islander
- Kiribati or person of Kiribati descent
- Tuvalu people or people from Tuvalu — do not use Tuvaluan
- Tokelau people or people from Tokelau — do not use Tokelauan.
For groups, Pacific Peoples is the appropriate term. Avoid using Pacific Islanders or Pasifika (including all spellings — Pasifika, Pasefika and Pacifika).
Pacific language codes
These are the language codes for the main Pacific ethnic groups in New Zealand.
- Cook Islands — rar
- Fiji — fj
- Kiribati — gil
- Niue — niu
- Rotuma — rtm
- Samoa — sm
- Tokelau — tk
- Tonga — to
- Tuvalu — tvl
Learn more about Pacific Peoples, their language, perspective and culture from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.