New Zealand Law Society - Samoan Language Week: Samoans sixth-biggest legal ethnicity

Samoan Language Week: Samoans sixth-biggest legal ethnicity

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

Lawyers of Samoan ethnicity make up 1.3% of New Zealand's lawyers, New Zealand Law Society information shows.

This week is Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa (Samoan Language Week). The Samoan language is one of the most commonly spoken languages in New Zealand.

New Zealand lawyers are now required to provide the Law Society with information on ethnicity (with the option of refusing to state). The latest available information, from 1 February 2018, shows that 1.3% of New Zealand-based lawyers were of Samoan ethnicity.

This was the sixth-largest ethnic group, after European (78.9%), Māori (6.1%), Other European (5.7%), Chinese (3.3%) and Indian (2.2%). Lawyers may identify with more than one ethnicity.

First celebrated in 2007, Samoan Language Week was part of a series of Pacific language weeks leading up to Te Wiki o te reo Māori. From 2009, the Fa’alapotopotoga mo le A’oa’oina o le Gagana Samoa i Aotearoa (FAGASA) and the Human Rights Commission partnered with other organisations to extend the week to the wider New Zealand community.

The theme for this year is “Alofa atu nei. Alofa mai taeao” (Kindness given. Kindness gained) and events and celebrations are being held every day throughout the country from 27 Mē (May) to Saturday 2 Luni (June) 2018.

Like Te Wiki or te reo Māori, Samoan Language Week places emphasis on celebration and education on the country’s rich culture, heritage and language.

Small steps like changing email signatures and using Samoan greetings are a great way to get started on incorporating Samoan into your day.

There are resources and education packs available full of explanations of the theme, Gagana Sāmoa pronunciation support, access to helpful words and phrases, as well as activity ideas, and examples of tala (story) and pese (song) resources.

For more information visit

Of New Zealand practising lawyers with Samoan ethnicity, 16% practise as barristers, 51% practise in law firms with more than one lawyer, 26% are in-house lawyers, and 7% are sole practitioners. And 72% of lawyers with Samoan ethnicity practise in Auckland.

When it comes to areas of practice, of those who provided information, 42.7% of Samoan lawyers practised some family law, 38.7% some criminal law, 25.3% some employment law, 22% some company/commercial law, 22% some property law, 22% some trusts and estates work, 19.3% some civil litigation, and 16.7% some immigration law.

Lawyer Listing for Bots