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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (June 5, 2001 - PINA Nius Online)---Samoan academic and community leader Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin has been made a Member of New Zealand's Order of Merit for his work promoting Samoa’s language and culture.

The award came during New Zealand Queen's Birthday Honors, Wellington's Evening Post reported.

A senior lecturer at Wellington's Victoria University, Galumalemana started the Samoan language department there. It now has 50 students and will soon become a subject major, the Evening Post said.

He founded Fagasa, the Samoan teachers and parents national organization, and Samoan Capital Radio, a Samoan language radio station that has now been broadcasting in Wellington for eight years. He also is co-founder of the National Samoan Advisory Council.

He was chairman of the Pacific Islands Advisory Committee for New Zealand's national museum Te Papa, which worked on the Pacific Island displays there, and remains a consultant for the museum. And he initiated Samoan cultural courses at the Police College, his work there being so highly thought of that they named a wing after him, the Evening Post said.

Galumalemana sees the award as "a huge recognition of the type of work people like me do, not only (for Samoa) but for New Zealand. . . I accept it on behalf of our people," the Evening Post reported.

Galumalemana is also among Samoan specialists and academics from the Samoas and Samoan communities abroad working on the development of Samoan as a full written language

The Evening Post said he still has plenty of ideas to promote Samoan, including a dictionary and textbooks.

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