In 2019, the international year of indigenous languages, and the year after the University of the South Pacific’s 50th anniversary, we are celebrating an achievement that we had never thought possible: the introduction of degree programmes in Cook Islands Māori, Rotuman, Tongan and Niuafo‘ou, Vagahau Niue, and Vanuatu Language Studies, alongside Fijian, the only indigenous language that had had a place in our curriculum until 2018. These programmes are aimed at fluent speakers of the languages of study, and they use these languages as medium of teaching and assessment. For the first time, English is therefore being challenged as the only language through which high-level concepts can be discussed, and through which academic research can be conducted. For the first time, Pacific languages will be taught in schools by teachers who are qualified to do so, rather than by fluent speakers who have been trained to teach other subjects. For the first time, our students can gain credit for delivering oral presentations, written essays and creative pieces in their dominant language. Even for the students who do not choose to take up this option, or who do not yet have a language programme open to them, the possibility of studying a Pacific language at our university is becoming normalised. Our aim in coming together to share our story is to lay out its complexity. If we are serious about the sustainability of these programmes, we need to engage with this complexity, and we need to keep talking about why all this matters. We need our leaders and our allies to understand that the actions we take at our university will impact the way the indigenous languages and cultures of this region are valued, used and transmitted to the next generations.