COVID-19: Language matters in the Pacific


This project aims to share information about COVID-19 in as many languages of the Pacific as possible. On these pages, you will find:

Key information in our languages (more languages are being added all the time ... please join us!)

Resources to support language communities wanting to:

  • Contribute to the project

  • Translate materials into their own languages

  • Create new resources using free templates and images

  • Check whether a resource is suitable

  • Share material with others responsibly and safely

Why language matters

In challenging times, it is access to information that keeps our communities safe. The COVID-19: Language matters in the Pacific project is a collaboration between linguists and language communities from across the Pacific to help provide this access to information.

We are guided by the principles that:

  1. We all need access to information: If we fail to reach certain people, we leave them behind.

  2. We need to remove language barriers: The Pacific is the most multilingual region of the world, so using English only will exclude many people.

  3. We need to be inclusive: Communities living with disabilities may be prevented from hearing or seeing information that others take for granted.

  4. We need to think critically whenever we read or view or listen: Access to incorrect information can be more dangerous than not having information at all.

  5. We need to share information with others responsibly: If we do not check our facts before we share, we may confuse people or put their lives at risk.

Who we are

This project is led by the Linguistics and Languages team from the School of Language, Arts & Media at the University of the South Pacific. Our university serves twelve countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu), and is the only university in the world to offer majors in Cook Islands Māori, Fijian, Hindi, Rotuman, Tongan & Niuafoˈou, Vagahau Niue, and Vanuatu Language Studies, as well as a major in Linguistics. If it’s possible to study these languages to degree level, then it’s possible to use them to provide safe, clear and inclusive access to important information!

Our project members (currently) include: Bhagirati Bhan, Niseta Buatava, Aurélie Cauchard, Wilfred Fimone, Jane Kanas, Birtha Lisimoni-Togahai, Ebwa Mwakaea, Sally Akevai Nicholas, Rajendra Prasad, Rosarine Rafai, Beneteta Raobati, Alice Rore, Krishneer Sen, Candide Simard, Apolonia Tamata, Aloima Taufilo-Teatu, Peseti Vea, ˈAna Heti Veikune, Fiona Willans.

If you have any queries or comments, we'd love to hear from you!