The Pacific Islands Languages Grant is available to all personnel considering or already undertaking study in any Pacific Islands language. Applications for the grant are called for annually in November.

The grant is an initiative to help the Fire Service work more effectively with Pacific populations and to benefit the personal development of its recipients.

The 2015/16 Pacific Islandsā€™ Languages Grant recipients have shared some of their experiences below on how the grant has benefitted them after having had some time to put their course learnings into practice.

SFF Fawcett Elu, Area 4, Region 1:

ā€˜The grant has been a major help in my personal development. The confidence I now have speaking Samoan and being in the cultural setting has been empowering and has given me an amazing new sense of pride in my culture. The Grant gave me the chance to attend courses during my normal night shifts as well as purchase texts books that have excelled my learning immensely of my Samoan culture.

Because of my extra confidence I have been speaking Samoan a lot more at fire service incidents and addressing people correctly in regards to my culture. I have been able to use formal traditional speeches to introduce myself at incidents and help communicate to my people at jobs, which the crew have found is a great help and asset in our team.

FF Pio Afemata, Area 4, Region 1:

In completing the [Samoan language] course, I have been able to actively interact at community gatherings with the ability to promote fire safety messages. My self-confidence has also grown positively from the experience and this has provided me the platform to build and stay active in my role as a fireman. The difference, though it may seem small, may go a long way within the homes of families that have a greater at risk within our community.

QFF George Toelau, Area 4, Region 1:

I chose to do the Samoan Language course to enhance my knowledge and understanding of the Samoan Language, its protocols and processes. I am now more confident at interacting in Samoan with the Samoan community, not only at station level but also through the Afi Pasefika Group where I am able to engage in fire safety promotions, recruitment and deliver fire safety messages in Samoan to all ages.

I feel that language is power, and I feel that as a Samoan, I owe it to my people, I owe it to my elders, I owe it to my heritage to make the effort to address them in a culturally competent and culturally appropriate manner.

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For further information on the grant please contact the grant coordinator, Beth Piggott (beth.piggott@fireandemergency.nz), SSO Sulu Devoe (sulu.devoe@fireandemergency.nz), or Esitone Pauga, Operations Capability Manager (esitone.pauga@fireandemergency.nz).

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