22 Apr 2011

Vangahau Niue workshop highlights importance of language to arts festival

6:10 pm on 22 April 2011

A co-ordinator of Niue's biennial arts festival says a language workshop that's preceeded the event is part of an ongoing drive to protect and promote Vangahau Niue.

The week-long festival of performing arts, crafts, exhibitions and food starts this weekend and is expected to swell the island's one-thousand-five-hundred strong population over the next couple of weeks by a third.

Moira Enetama says workshop participants welcomed the opportunity to sharpen their knowledge of Niuean language by looking at the conventions and translation.

She says increasing the number of fluent Vangahau Niue speakers is essential to sustaining the country's culture.

"It's not a responsibility of those, for those only in Niue to sustain Vangahau Niue. Niueans who live abroad or Niuean descendants, they also have a responsibility in this."

Moira Enetama says without Vangahau Niue, cultural practices can't be passed on.

Niue's High Commissioner to New Zealand says instruction in traditional crafts is one of the highlights of the festival.

Part of the basis for founding the event was to attract Niueans who've been living overseas for a long time or descendants who've never visited their country of origin.

O'love Jacobsen says some young people will never have had anything to do with traditional Niuean crafts.

Like the building of canoes, and some of the cultural things, like making a umu, that's an earth oven. Things that these kids have not seen or never touched in their lives. Giving an introduction and a taste of that.

Niue's High Commissioner to New Zealand, O'love Jacobsen.