30 Oct 2019

Tokelau Language Week: 'Treasures of our culture'

10:55 am on 30 October 2019

Tokelauans across New Zealand are celebrating their culture and language this week: Te vāiaho o te gagana Tokelau.

Tokelau children perform at the launch of their language week.

Tokelau children perform at the launch of their language week during the weekend. Photo: Supplied

The theme of this year's Tokelau Language Week is Tiutiuga a Tautai ma Figo auā te lumanaki o Fānau, which means mastery of traditional knowledge, skills, expertise and leadership to help shape the future.

Tokelau elder Fofo Pou Poasa yesterday shared his knowledge about traditional meahina taonga collections at Auckland Museum.

He said it was important that Tokelauans, especially children, learn about their identity. His words have been translated:

"We have the opportunity to demonstrate and to fulfil the hopes of us, the Tokelau people. As we were growing up, there were some tools we used on the island such as the vilivil (pump drill) and kofe (fishing rod). The rod reflects our families and is the mother. The handle is the father. The pa (fish hooks) are the son and the daughter. These are treasures of our culture."

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio launched the Tokelau Language Week in Auckland on Saturday.

Tokelau Language Week ends on 2 November, when a Fatele Day, a combined community day, will be held in Auckland.

Malo ni - hello

Ulu tonu mai - welcome

Kaiga - family

Faiakoga - teacher

Tofa ni - goodbye