Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin

Galumalemana Alfred HunkinGalumalemana Alfred Hunkin is a prominent New Zealand Pacific leader of Samoan ancestry. He is a published writer, broadcaster, researcher, cross-cultural advisor/consultant and academic. Galumalemana has been a strong advocate for Pacific peoples in New Zealand, both academically and in relation to public policy. He established Samoan Studies at Victoria University in the 1980s and was also the inaugural director of the Wellington Multicultural Educational Resource Centre from 1980 -1989. Galumalemana was awarded The New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal for services to education in New Zealand. He was also awarded the MNZM (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit) award in 2001 for services to the Pacific Islands community and the Samoan community in its language maintenance efforts in particular. He recently retired from Victoria University Wellington after nearly 30 years of service at the university.


The Struggle of Pacific Languages in Aotearoa New Zealand for a Place in the Sun
Galumalemana Hunkin

Since Pacific migrants started arriving in New Zealand in the late 1950s and early 1960s, our communities have been concerned with, and have worked hard to find, ways to find a place in the sun for our languages and cultures so they can be maintained and flourish down the generations. We have, however, been significantly discriminated against by the historical monolingual colonial legacy left in our Pacific Island nations by New Zealand, Australia and England. These countries banned our family languages from use in education above Year Four, provided few if any resources and beat our families and communities into a state of hegemony where English came to equal education and education could only be done in English. Consequently many of our own people have historically doubted the ability and usefulness of our first languages outside the home and church.

Our communities have taken the initiative and established immersion- and dual-medium ECE Centres and over 30 unofficial bilingual schooling units in New Zealand primary schools. In spite of our communities’ best efforts to rejuvenate our languages there has been little real support from Māori New Zealanders our direct cousins in ancestry language and culture, neither for that matter from educators, linguists, Human Rights advocates, political parties, or our own original home nations in the Pacific. In these circumstances researchers are only now, it seems, able to contribute to ‘documenting and smoothing the pillow’ of a dying taonga (treasure) and along with it our wish and ability to contribute to a vibrant, multicultural, multilingual New Zealand.