FRENCH POLYNESIAN TAKES PART IN POLYNESIAN LANGUAGES CONGRESS ON EASTER

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PAPEETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (March 30, 2000 -- Oceania Flash/SPC)---A delegation from French Polynesian currently is attending the Sixth Polynesian Languages Congress on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), RFO-radio reports.

The congress's main aim is to preserve Polynesian languages and develop practical ways of promoting them.

On Easter Island, the congress was told authorities are struggling to safeguard the Reo Rapa Nui language and are calling on the elder members of the community to teach the younger ones at school.

The ten delegations from the Polynesian region currently taking part in the meeting visited Rapa Nui's only bilingual school for the island's 900 students, where both Spanish and Pasqua languages have been taught for the past three years.

The RFO reporter in Rapa Nui reports that although 90% of the families there speak Reo Rapa Nui language, 25% of them are intermingling it with Spanish.

This prompted the island's elders to call for urgent action to safeguard their native tongue.

The call initiated the introduction in 1997 of a teaching program using the traditional leaders to teach the language in schools, three hours a week, for all children over five years old.

Meanwhile, a Reo Rapa Nui dictionary was introduced in 1995.

Authorities on Rapa Nui hope that in three years time, the program will bring back the proportion of "good" Reo Rapa Nui speakers to 90%, as was the case in the early 1900s.

The ten represented island areas of Polynesia are also looking on ways to use this forum to assist each other on resolving Polynesian language issues.

In French Polynesia, the two official languages are French and Reo Maohi (Tahitian).

 

FRENCH POLYNESIA DIGITIZES PAST DANCE FESTIVALS ARCHIVES

PAPEETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (March 30, 2000 -- Oceania Flash/SPC)---French Polynesian authorities have started this week the process of archiving the "Tiurai," the collection of dance festivals held since the early eighties, RFO-radio reports.

The ICA (Audiovisual Communication Institute) was commissioned to engage in a systematic digital archiving on compact disc of the numerous video and audio tapes of these colorful dance competition events, which each year gather representatives from all of French Polynesia's islands in an extravaganza of "tamure" (hip dance).

 

VAA‘A INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION MEETS ON BORA BORA ISLAND

PAPEETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (March 30, 2000 -- Oceania Flash/SPC)---The International Federation of Vaa‘a (outrigger canoeing) is meeting this week on world-famous Bora Bora to make final preparations for the 2000 world championship, RFO-radio reports.

The meeting, which will last three days, involves some twenty delegates from national federations in French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Hawai‘i, Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, and metropolitan France.

Rowers from across the Pacific and beyond will compete in Townsville (Australia) in August for this year's world championship title.

The next Vaa‘a world championship is to be held in 2002, on Bora Bora. It probably will take place in March, but the date remains to be finalized, officials said at the meeting. It will feature races of 500 and 1,500 meters.

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