Samoan students at the University of Waikato have been serving up free traditional dishes this week. The catch? You have to say a phrase in Samoan.
It’s part of Samoan Language Week celebrations taking place at the University of Waikato, and staff and students have been getting behind the activities, including free food by the Waikato University Samoan Students Association (WUSSA).
A week-long celebration
Samoan Language Week (Vaiaso o le Gagana), which started on May 26 and runs till 1 June, is an annual week dedicated to celebrating and encouraging the use of the Samoan language by all New Zealanders.
On Monday, WUSSA treated people to the traditional Samoan dish koko alaisa (sweet cocoa and rice) if they attempted a Samoan phrase. They’re doing the same on Wednesday, only this time sapasui (Samoan style chop suey) is on the menu.
Supporting Samoan Language Week
Elena Fa'amoe-Timoteo, Waikato University’s Senior Policy Adviser for Pacific, says the university is strongly supporting Samoan Language Week by encouraging staff and students to adopt phrases and words in everyday use.
“The university has a commitment to building and enhancing the Pacific dimensions of our institution, and to creating a welcoming environment for Pacific staff and students.
“The Univeristy of Waikato has a long history of Samoan students on campus. Vaiaso o le Gagana provides the university with the opportunity to celebrate the Samoan language, and to create a welcoming sense of community amongst the Samoan people here at the University.”
The University is also running a quiz during Samoan Language Week, via its Facebook page. The quiz, which includes general knowledge about Samoa, Samoan language and culture, is open to anyone to participate. Prizes will be draw on Friday 30 May.