Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Book & Print in New Zealand : A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa

Current: community and creative

Current: community and creative

Pacific Island languages can be heard on the radio but not seen in the bookshops. Print culture in 'trade publishing' is virtually non-existent—there are no commercial publishers even on the islands themselves. For centuries, Pacific storytelling has been passed on through images, chants, song and dance. One would therefore expect to see the emergence of a truly indigenous written culture, but there are few signs that this is developing. The needs, difficulties and opportunities confronting the development of Pacific Island language resources are discussed in Robert Holding's 'O tusi i le gagana Samoa' (1991 Churchill Report). While Samoa is the primary focus, the research provides a useful model contribution to discussions on literacy and associated issues. The challenges are even bigger for the other language groups, where the populations are so much smaller.

Newspapers (usually in Samoan) have occasionally and briefly come and gone in the Auckland area but are usually versions of Samoa-based publications. It is also relevant to note that when mixed groups of Pacific Islanders communicate (in word or print) they do so in English, due to the language differences. English therefore continues to be a threat to Pacific Island languages, especially in New Zealand. An example of a combined Pacific Island newspaper is the monthly Wellington-based give-away Pacific Network Newspaper (1994- ) in which advertisements and about half the content is in English, with the remaining content in various Pacific Island languages.

There is only one identified creative writing competition in New Zealand for Pacific Island languages, held annually by Manukau City Libraries, Auckland, and there are no special awards or recognition to encourage writers and publishers. Books Pasifika and Pasifika Press provide the only commercial outlet, while the occasional entrepreneur faces all the difficulties experienced by self publishers.