Minister of Education launches Samoan translation of popular Starpath book

30 May 2012

Over a hundred students, parents and members of the education community gathered at Porirua College in Wellington on Monday night for the official launch of the Samoan translation of popular book Understanding NCEA: A relatively short and very useful guide for secondary school students and their parents, written by Professor Elizabeth McKinley and Dr Irena Madjar from The University of Auckland’s Starpath Project.

Malamalama i le NCEA was officially launched by the Minister of Education and Pacific Island Affairs, the Honorable Hekia Parata, to mark the start of Samoan Language Week. In her speech she acknowledged the importance of the resource for the Samoan community and praised the book for its emphasis on helping Samoan parents and students understand the importance of planning pathways through NCEA and providing practical information to guide them through it.

A former head girl at Porirua College, who is now studying her Bachelor of Nursing Pacific at Whitirea Polytechnic, spoke to guests at the event and encouraged students who attended from Porirua College and nearby Taita College to work hard at school to reach their goals.

Book translator, Faimai Pisu Tuimauga, gave a moving speech in Samoan expressing how important it was for the Samoan community to have Malamalama I le NCEA as a tool to support their children through NCEA.

The book translation is a result of research undertaken by Professor McKinley and Dr Madjar during phase one of the Starpath Project. “We often needed to take interpreters when we went to interview parents of Pacific students.” said Director, Professor Liz McKinley. “We quickly learned that we needed to be able to talk to parents in their own language if we are to have an impact on student achievement. We chose to translate the resource into Samoan language as it is the third most commonly spoken language in New Zealand and second most common in Auckland.”

The decision to translate the resource was reinforced when the English version of Understanding NCEA was launched at an event hosted by Manurewa High School in Auckland last year when one of the students commented that she wished she could have one in Samoan to take home for her parents.

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