16 Oct 2018

Niueans in New Zealand encouraged to keep Vagahau Niue alive

9:00 am on 16 October 2018

Niueans in New Zealand are being encouraged to keep learning and speaking their language through a range of activities for Niue Language Week.

The rocky foreshore of Niue

Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

For every person living on Niue there are around 12 people of Niuean descent living in New Zealand and the Niuean language is classified as endangered by the world heritage organisation UNESCO.

Activities for Vagahau Niuean Week include school speech competitions, dance workshops, arts exhibitions, sports events and church services.

Lynda Lakua-Makensi, a community worker supporting young Niuean people in Hamilton, said the various activities were opportunities to keep the language and culture alive.

The Niue Youth Network says retaining Vagahau Niue is important.

The Niue Youth Network says retaining Vagahau Niue is important. Photo: Niue Youth Network

She said people should have a go at speaking Niuean and not be embarrassed about making mistakes.

"We want to get away from that, we want them to just be open about just saying anything they want to say that they know in Niuean, that there's always going to be somebody there that will help them say more words in Niuean," Lynda Lakua-Makensi said.

She said she hoped people would continue to speak and learn Niuean, not just this week but throughout their lives.

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