Update: 12:22PM FIJIAN communities around New Zealand are coming together to celebrate their mother tongue this week as part of the country's first Fijian Language Week.
Among them are some passionate Palmerston North parents who have formed a Fijian language revitalisation program in the city.
They started running weekly language classes for Fijian families last month and are leading what is thought to be the city's first Fijian holiday program this term break.
As well as having children from 18 months to 18 years signed up, a handful of New Zealand-born Fijian adults wanting to sharpen their native tongue have joined.
Palmerston North Fijian Community member Litea Meo-Sewabu said it was a chance to get the learning of the language back to basics and to celebrate Fijian culture on a daily basis.
"We're trying to strengthen the language and the best way to do that is together."
Palmerston North Girls' High student Tandia McIntosh, 15, said it was nice to touch base with her family's Fijian heritage.
Her late grandfather, Maciu Ratumaitavuki, moved to New Zealand in the 1960s and, back then, the focus was on learning English, with Fijian falling by the wayside.
"This is one of our only chances to learn it and it's good to come and meet other Fijian people as well," she said.
The recent grassroots groundswell for Fijian language revitalisation comes with a nod from the Government.
Pacific Island Affairs Minister Hekia Parata said celebrations like that in Palmerston North were laying the platform for Pacific language to survive in New Zealand.
"The Fijian community in New Zealand is small, but passionate. They recognise the importance of safeguarding their language and culture for future generations."
Almost 10,000 Fijians live in New Zealand, making them the fifth-largest Pacific group in the country.
This is the fifth Pacific language week to be held this year after Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu. The Tuvalu community was celebrating its also inaugural language week last week.