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Teaching and learning Gagana Sāmoa

Tālofa lava!

Welcome to the online environment developed to support the teaching of Gagana Sāmoa.

Samoa language week / Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa

Young person in Samoan dress.

Sāmoa Language Week / Vaiaso o le gagana Sāmoa takes place Sunday 28 May to Saturday 3 June 2023. 

Teaching resources

National events

Effective teaching for Pasifika students

Gagana Sāmoa is the second most spoken language in Auckland and the third most spoken in New Zealand. This means that there is a reasonably high chance that you will have some gagana Sāmoa speakers in your school.

Encourage those students to be experts, and validate their expertise in front of other students. Support them to speak gagana Sāmoa to each other and to others in the class. Invite students to prepare the Sāmoa Week celebrations in the school, investigating the value of service to others and placing an emphasis on shared language experiences.


To celebrate in your school

Use the following questions as discussion starters with your class.

  • "Why is it important for all New Zealanders to celebrate and learn gagana Sāmoa?" 
  • "What benefits will this bring to New Zealanders of Samoan descent?"

Hold a school speech competition, using senior students as the judges.

Share your expertise with another school. Older students could mentor a Samoan cultural group, or teach younger students some basic language phrases.

With the help of the Samoan community, students can create a resource that can be used by teachers across the school during the year.

  • Ask a grandparent or parent to come and read to children in the classroom or in the library at lunchtime. Check your resource room for gagana Sāmoa titles in the Tupu series.

Engaging with Pasifika parents, families and communities

Sāmoa language week is an ideal opportunity to engage with aiga in the school community. Acknowledge expertise, encourage a steady flow of gagana Sāmoa speakers into the classroom, and let the community guide the teaching and learning in a fa'a Sāmoa way.

The intergenerational concept of service is very important to fa'a Sāmoa, with its emphasis on the young looking after the older members of their family. Hold a school event where the students serve the elders, or ask the Samoan school community how the school could help them. This is a great way to practise gagana Sāmoa, as students can serve the wider community while interacting with fluent speakers in an everyday situation.

If community members are willing, a debate could be held between parents and secondary level students in response to the Tagata Pasifika video below.


The survival of the Samoan language in New Zealand – Are we becoming complacent? 13 May 2013
Are Samoans being complacent when it comes to their language? This Tagata Pasifika special looks at Samoa language learning, and whether attitudes towards learning gagana Sāmoa need to change.

Key resources

Guidelines, learning language series, and storybooks

Samoan Curriculum Cover

Ta'iala mo le Gagana Sāmoa: The Gagana Sāmoa Guidelines
Download the Gagana Sāmoa language curriculum guidelines. These guides support additional language learning. Their focus is on teaching and learning that enables students to achieve worthwhile outcomes.


Mua Ō! An Introduction to Gagana Sāmoa
This resource has been designed and developed to support the teaching and learning of gagana Sāmoa as an additional language in New Zealand schools.


Gagana Sāmoa storybooks and teacher support materials
These storybooks and teacher support materials link to learning sequences in Mua Ō! The storybooks are in gagana Sāmoa and the teacher support materials are in English.


Ministry of Education resources in Gagana Sāmoa 

The following will help inform Gagana Sāmoa speaking aiga.

Other resources

Gagana Sāmoa: Tusi o gāluega fa'atino – Sāmoan language activity book
A downloadable resource from Te Papa for students to learn Sāmoan words through simple activities such as word searches, colouring pages, and stories.


Omniglot the online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages

Useful phrases in Sāmoan
A collection of useful phrases in Sāmoan from the online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages. The site also provides information about Sāmoan and numbers in Sāmoan.


Sāmoan│Gagana Sāmoa
Victoria University of Wellington put together online resources to help you learn and practise Samoan. Explore resources in these categories: Listening, Reading, Grammar and Vocabulary, and Sāmoan Culture.


Literacy Online

Gagana Sāmoa
These books, which support the early language and literacy learning of Pasifika new entrant students in English-medium classrooms, may be a way to introduce Sāmoan to primary students not familiar with the language. Includes teacher support material, dual language books (available as PDFs) and MP3 audio files.

From our media gallery


Knowing a Pasifika language is not a barrier to success in English-medium schooling. Teachers who value and share the languages that Pasifika students bring with them into the classroom and deliberately build their English language skills help Pasifika students to succeed.

Visit the  Media Gallery – Effective teaching for Pasifika students | Language for a summary of key content, discussion questions, and the video transcript.