A one-day National Hindi Language Workshop was held at Papatoetoe High School on Saturday, September 21, jointly organised by Hindi Language and Culture Trust of New Zealand, Bhartiya Bhasha Evan Shodh Sansthan, Teach Hindi NZ and New Zealand Hindi Teachers Association.
The daylong workshop received overwhelming support from the Hindi community and others alike right from Christchurch, Wellington, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Hamilton and greater Auckland.
Present at the workshop were Minister of Ethnic Communities and Associate Minister for Education Jenny Salesa, National MPs Nikki Kaye, Kanwaljit Bakshi, Hon Consul of India Bhav Dhillon and ten other speakers.
The Keynote speaker at the event Dr Todd Nachowitz from Otago University highlighted Hindi being the fourth most commonly spoken language in New Zealand (fifth now as per Census 2018) and the third most widely spoken language in Auckland.
Dr Nachowitz also emphasised on the potential danger of extinction of the language if community and heritage languages are not supported and called upon the government to include Hindi into the National Curriculum.
Maree Jurissen from Ministry of Education presented data on the findings of Ethnic Community Education conversations conducted by the government at the beginning of the year. National MP Nikki Kaye spoke on the importance of learning a second language and the heritage languages.
Ms Kaye further said it is important to learn the languages of the migrants, with regards to the Te Reo Maori language under the Treaty of Waitangi.
The organisers also invited the torchbearers of the Tongan language to speak about the growth of their language in New Zealand.
“The pioneer curriculum developers of Samoan Language, Vavao Fetui and Tongan language, Maata Fusitua shared their language journey into New Zealand Curriculum in a very emotional session,” Satya Dutt, President of Hindi Language and Culture Trust of New Zealand said.
“Reiterating Jenny Salesa and Kanwaljit Bakshi’s call that our language and culture is our identity that reflects our past, our present and resonates into the future accomplishments of our generations ahead,” Mr Dutt added.
Dr Netram Sharma, a retired Principal Curriculum Officer, Ministry of Education, Fiji delivered a session on Teaching and Learning of Hindi Language and Challenges in Developing Hindi Curriculum.
Longtime advocates for Hindi language, Sunita Narayan, Dr Pushpa Wood and Suman Kapoor also facilitated workshop sessions for awareness and creating capabilities for teaching and learning for Hindi.
“As a result of this workshop, we have formed the ‘National Hindi Language Sabha’ to continue on the work done so far and to undertake the promotion, learning and teaching of Hindi language towards National Curriculum Framework,” Mr Dutt said.
The Papatoetoe High School is also offering Hindi classes to Year 9 and 10 students and call upon to include Hindi in NCEA levels 1-3 to meet the needs for learning pathways of the students.
During the workshop, the attendees- were split into three groups to discuss upon topics that focused on role and importance of Inter-generational Language Learning in NZ context, the role of media to promote Hindi language and teaching capability of Hindi language and learning outcomes for students.
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