How to celebrate your language and empower your community

The Heritage and Community Language Celebration Guidelines (the guidelines) are a resource the Office of Ethnic Communities developed to support communities to celebrate and maintain their heritage languages.  The guidelines use plain language and give practical advice through the process of organising a language celebration.  Click below and find out more about where to start, who to involve, what to include, when to organise, how to find support and how others have developed language celebrations.

The Heritage and Community Language Celebration Guidelines (PDF - 6.9mb*)

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*  This document is in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the Adobe site.

  • Where do we start

    Starting to plan language celebrations is exciting. Remember that the purpose of a language celebration is to publicly recognise your language, culture and community. A useful place to start the process is determining your community’s goals. Here’s what you may want to consider:...

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  • Case Study: Hindi language celebrations

    The number of people in New Zealand who can speak Hindi nearly tripled between 2001 and 2013. Hindi is now the fourth most spoken language in New Zealand.  Satya Dutt founded the Hindi Language and Culture Trust of New Zealand (the Trust) in 2003.

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  • Who to involve

    People are at the heart of ensuring that a language survives and thrives and this is particularly the case when organising a language celebration. Gather a teamTeamwork is essential for a successful language celebration. You will need people to plan, publicise, set up and run events....

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  • What to include

    Any activity can be an opportunity to promote and teach others your language – just ensure your language is featured. Deciding what to do depends on the interests, location and age of your community. Here are some ideas: Run a poster competition.

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  • When is the right time

    Selecting the right time to celebrate your language is particularly important for larger language celebrations. Here are some tips to keep in mind:Give yourself enough timePlanning a language celebration is a big task and may take longer than expected.

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  • Case study: Vagahau Niue Language Week

    The New Zealand Niue community has taken swift and strong action in response to concerns about the declining speakers of Vagahau Niue (Niuean language). The Vagahau Niue Trust has been heavily involved in preserving the Niue language and culture.

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  • How to find support

    You may need funding support to run your language celebration, especially for larger events. There are a range of resources to support your community to apply for funding, or to fundraise itself. 1 Set a budgetWork out how much money you need to run your language celebration....

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  • Who’s listening

    Letting people know about your language celebration is important and helps ensure a lot of people take part. 1 Have a planSome organisations have a dedicated communications person but if you don’t then make sure you have a written communications plan that lists:...

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  • What’s next

    What you do after your language celebration is just as important as the planning and running of the event itself. This is a chance to congratulate everyone who helped make the celebration happen, to evaluate what went well, and to decide what you’ll do in the future....

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