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Aotearoa Spanish Language Week 2024

By Zoe

Kia ora and ¡Hola! Here at Wellington City Libraries we are celebrating Aotearoa Spanish Language Week.

Aotearoa Spanish Language Week logo on a green background

Hablas espanol? Do you speak Spanish?

Hablo un poco de Español (Eh-span-yole). I speak a little Spanish 

¿Dónde estás? Where are you?

Estoy en le biblioteca. I am at the library.

¿Sabías? | Did you know?

  • There are over 500 million speakers of Spanish worldwide.

This is mainly because the Spanish colonised many different parts of the world. Countries with Spanish as an official language are called Hispanic. Most of them are in the Americas, which make up Latin America.

A world map with countries that speak Spanish coloured dark blue

Hispanophone Global World Map from Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

  • The first Spanish-speaking immigrants to New Zealand arrived in the late 19th century.

The first Spanish-speaking immigrants to New Zealand arrived so they could work in the gold mines. Most of them were men from the Spanish-speaking countries of South America.

  • The first Chileans arrived in New Zealand in 1977.

When the military took over the government in Chile, families like the Guerreros, pictured below, were forced to leave their country as refugees. If you would like to learn more about our first Chilean immigrants, visit the link below to read about them and other immigrants from Latin America on Te Ara Encylopaedia of New Zealand.

A black and white photo of a family of five, mother, three children, and father, sitting on a sofa.

Image: "Chileans become New Zealanders" by John Wilson in Story: Latin Americans, Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand.

Cool and interesting words in Español | Spanish

One really interesting thing about learning another language is that there are lots of words that don’t have an exact translation into English. Here are some words in Spanish we think are extra cool.

  • empalagar: When you dislike something because the flavour is too sweet.
  • sobremesaWhen you finish a meal and stay at the table sharing a conversation, after everyone has eaten.
  • pena ajena: To feel embarrassed on behalf of someone else.

Here are some English words that come from Spanish | Español:

  • overol: overalls
  • suéter: sweater
  • bulevar: boulevard
  • fútbol: football

Storytime Tiempo de cuentos at Karori Library

Join Karori Library in celebrating Aotearoa Spanish Language week with fun and interactive bilingual stories, games and language resources for pre schoolers. Nau mai rā tātou katoa. Everybody is welcome.

Tuesday 21 May, 10:30am - 11:30am

Te Māhanga Karori Library

Karori Library also have a new programme called Cuentacuentos – story time sessions entirely in Spanish! Every first Saturday of the month at 11 AM.

Toitoi Revista aplicación | Toitoi Magazine App

Check out the Toitoi Magazine Latin America Special Issue app -- it has stories, poems and art by kids about the vibrant cultures of Latin America. You can read in English, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, thanks to the Latin America Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence.

Readers can listen to the stories and poems in translation, tap to hear individual words and spellings and even record their own narration.

Una prueba divertida | A fun quiz

Text-based image with ten questions about Spanish.

Visit the Aotearoa Spanish Language Week website for the answers, and for more fun activities for the whole whānau!