Language is my Identity | ELPNZ

Language is my Identity

13 February 2017





Children need encouragement to preserve their family language, as a vital part of their identity and culture.

English Language Partners delivers a range of teaching programmes nationwide to assist refugees and migrants with community and workplace English.

Although English is our focus, ELPNZ stresses the importance of preserving mother language to maintain identity. Each of our learners bring to New Zealand at least one language, and often many more, but there is a risk that without being nurtured, these languages can be lost within a generation or two.

Fay Fu, a bilingual Kiwi working for ELPNZ, uses both English and Chinese at work. “It’s really hard to keep up our own language at home,” she says. “Even when we talk to our children in Chinese, they often answer in English.”

English Language Partners is supporting parents to encourage their children to speak to them in their own language. This is also the message of International Mother Language Day, 21 February. We join with Community Languages Association of New Zealand (CLANZ) for the celebrations supporting families to maintain multilingual homes.

International Mother Language Day acknowledges the day in 1952 in Pakistan when students demonstrated for recognition of their language, Bangla. The students were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.  Source: UNESCO.

A vibrant poster featuring ‘Language is my Identity’ in 32 languages, including English, Māori and NZ Sign is available to help celebrate this important day. Alternatively, a pdf version is accessible through the English Language Partners website:

In addition, CLANZ has compiled a list of tips to help preserve your family language with your children. It can be downloaded here

Contact us to order a copy of the poster - details under

Poster order information

$10.00 North Island
$15.00 South Island

Up to 5 posters can fit in 1 postal tube. (For the one charge!) 

How to pay:
1) Online: You can pay the P+P directly via online banking:
Where depositing money directly into our bank account, please add your surname as a reference. 
Account number 06-0507-0017792-10
Account name English Language Partners New Zealand
2) Cheque: send us a cheque written out to English Language Partners NZ - post to PO Box 12 114, Wgtn. If you'd like a receipt, please email with the following details: 1) name 2) address 3) amount of P+P 4) date you made the deposit.