A $108 million package for Pacific communities, announced in the 2021 Budget today, is being classed as important protection of Pasifika culture.
The package is made up of $99.6m in new operating funding and $660,000 in new capital funding from the Budget 2021 allowances and the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF).
Almost $8m in operating funding has been repurposed from existing funding in Vote Education.
The package includes:
• A $30.3 million boost to assist the Tupu Aotearoa programme to support about 7500 Pacific peoples into employment, training, and education across Aotearoa New Zealand, funded from the CRRF.
• Investing $6.6m to support establishing the Pacific Wellbeing Strategy – a cross-Government initiative that will develop ways to measure Pacific wellbeing across Government work programmes and initiatives.
• Supporting Pacific businesses through the impacts of Covid-19 with $16.2m for business support services, funded from the CRRF.
• $20.8m supporting Pacific bilingual and immersion education in the schooling system, made up of $12.4m of new operating funding and $644,000 of new capital funding from Budget 2021 allowances, with $7.8m of repurposed funding from Vote Education.
• $5m operating funding and $16,000 capital funding to deliver sustained professional learning and development to embed Tapasā as a tool to address social inclusion in the education sector.
• $5.1m for the development of two new Pacific language subjects, gagana Tokelau and vagahau Niue as NCEA Achievement Standards subjects.
• $16m to support the implementation of Ola Manuia: Pacific Health and Well‑being Action Plan 2020-2025 funded from the CRRF.
"This is a significant investment for Pacific communities who have been hard-hit by the outbreak of Covid-19 in the past year," Pacific Peoples minister Aupito William Sio said.
"With the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou Goals as a guide, the Pacific package puts a strong focus on Pacific wellbeing and continues the Government's commitment to ensuring that Pacific peoples are leading this work to achieve confident, thriving, prosperous and resilient communities."
Pacific Cooperation Foundation project manager David Vaeafe was pleased to see $5.1m invested in the development of Pacific languages, gagana Tokelau and vagahau Niue, as NCEA subjects.
"It's really encouraging that the Government is putting resources into the Tokelau and Niue languages ... it's important to maintain the languages for future generations."
Vaeafe, whose work at the foundation concerned strengthening relationships between New Zealand and the Pacific region, said it would be good to emulate what has been done with te reo Māori and incorporate it across more levels of education.
"It would be nice at some point if these [Pacific] languages were available at a university level, so it helps those Pacific students who are New Zealand-born to maintain their culture."