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Sunday 18th October – Saturday 24th October 2020
Fakalofa lahi atu kia mutolu oti. Fakaue fakamua ke he Atua kua feleveia pehe nei ke folafola atu e tau manatu ke he Vagahau mahuiga mo e tokiofa he motu ha tautolu ne fakataoga aki e tau tagata Niue ko e leo vagahau. Ko e Faahi Tapu Vagahau Niue a nei.
This is Niue Language Week and we proudly celebrate and treasure our language as one core indicator of our heritage. We share with you samples and snapshots of Niue materials in the form of writing, photographs, handicrafts and collection objects from the Museum.
Community Coordinator & Guest of Auckland Museum
This is the week where our one focus is to portray, share, profile and publicly value all our Niue people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and worldwide to join us through this digital medium to celebrate, share and honour our culture and language of our heritage and identity.
The Language Week theme for this year is: “Leveki e Vagahau Niue Mooli” to simply mean “Protect and preserve the Niue language in its original form” as one way of honouring our descendants.
This theme is respectfully asking all Niue of today, and tomorrow to preserve the hereditary style of our language. In the changing world around us, we can communicate amongst ourselves in the original version of our first language because we have the luxury of communicating in English, our second language, with the wider world. I take this opportunity assert to all Niue that the use of transliteration must only be for the English words that we do not have the right Niue word or words to translate into. Doing the opposite will destroy our language of our heritage.
I am honoured and highly appreciative to work in partnership with the Auckland Museum and the wider communities online, and especially to share with you the samples of activities like singing and speaking/reading. Ke he tau lilifu Niue oti. Tokiofa, fakaako e totou tohi mo e lologo mo e fakamahani ke he tau koli tufuga kehekehe.
Fakaue lahi. Kia monuina.
Tahailo Fasi (Taha)
Leone Samu (Associate Curator, Documentary Heritage, Pacific Collections) takes looks at Niue through the lens of Harry Coleman, a public servant, radio operator, and founder for the government-issued bilingual Tohi Tala Niue newsletter.
Image: Coleman, Harry (1960s) Performance in festive costume. Auckland War Memorial Museum neg. M1660.9
Youth Member of Auckland Museum’s Pacific Advisory Group
Fakalofa lahi atu, kia mutolu oti. Haaku higoa ko Reevez Cameron Webster. I was fortunate to have travelled frequently between Niue and New Zealand. Growing up in Auckland, I was exposed to a large portion of the Vagahau/language and Agafakamotu/culture. Forever indebted to my Nana, Afa Webster, we learnt much of the Niuean language through church songs and the constant visitors we received on the daily. It was here I learnt how to brew the perfect cup of tea and coffee, as Nana and aunties spoke the vagahau and reminisced about the islands.
When I was younger, I frequently travelled between Niue and New Zealand. I took part in a traditional coming age event in 2003: Hair Cutting. I learnt from this point onwards how cultural customs like this play a pivotal part in ones identity journey. Pasifika and Polyfest have been important for many young Niueans getting to perform traditional takalao and meke for their magaafaoa/families and matua/elders. Cultural events and items like these help to bridge an important gap for us living in the diaspora, and allows us to be anchored to our nation in a growing globalized context. Niue holds a special place in the historical and political contexts of New Zealand, both good and bad.
Being a young Niuean today, we experience the world differently to our parents and forefathers. Niuean Language Week has provided an opportunity for my generation to interact with our culture in deep and meaningful ways, through art, performance and other media. Niue continues to grow as an environmental powerhouse and be recognised as an important part of the Polynesia and the Pacific. Niue is more than just the “Rock of the Pacific”, it is the culture I love with the people whose knowledge and wisdom I carry with me through my life. My nana always encouraged me to practice my Niuean culture and language, no matter if I was confident or unsure of getting things wrong. Her love and the love of our matua continue to make me proud to be from the “Rock of the Pacific”.
Monu, monu, monu Tagaloa.
Chaplain Uea was age 40, the oldest of the 150 Niuean men who, keen to help ‘the Kingdom of King George’, joined the New Zealand Māori Contingent. Uea was a natural leader. He was their Sergeant Major and something of a father figure to the Niuean men. Importantly, he was one of the few who could speak English.
From service in Malaya and Vietnam to a colourful career in Niuean politics, the Honourable Sani Lakatani has many stories to tell. In this interview, Madison Pine (Online Cenotaph Collection Technician, Research Support) shares a few of those stories of what service was like with the New Zealand Defence Force and his decision to later join the New Zealand Army.
After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the people of Niue offered a contingent to serve with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), an offer that was taken up in mid-1915. Learn more about these servicemen and those who served in later conflicts at Online Cenotaph.
Ko e tau kahoa hihi, kahoa fua puka, tau lalaga kato, tau tia hafi uluga mo e falu gahua lima foki ne taute he tau tau loga kua mole he kaina ha Niue Motu Maka Enterprises Society moe takitaki ko Malama T. Makatogia Nilau. These are just a few examples of the talent required to make, preserve and display the wide variety of items that depend so heavily on knowledge to design, and then transform into the actual crafts and woven wares, and the inner commitment to display and store these safely for future generations. Fakaue lahi mahaki ke he tau malolo tino mo e loto hagaao ke he tau koloa nei ke iloa he lalolagi ko Niue ko e motu mahuiga he tau tagata pulotu.
Three Auckland-based Niuean community groups got together to perform songs in Niuean to celebrate Niue Language Week. Listen to traditional songs, hymns and chants performed by the Mutalau Ululauta Matahefonua Trust, the Fatuaua Magafaoa Trust, and the Pacific Niue Community Church Trust.
Image: Members of the Mutalau Ululauta Matahefonua Trust (MUMT)
In celebration of Niue Language Week 2020, Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum hosted an online discussion session via Zoom video conference on the state of the Niuean language. Panelists explored ways to maintain Niuean traditions and examined collection items from our Documentary Heritage collection.
We were joined by Niuean educators, artists, community leaders and knowledge holders Reverend Pahetogia Faitala, Io Aleke Fa'avae, Leki Jackson-Bourke, and Jess Pasisi and facilitated by Taha Fasi (Niuean Community Leader).
Our heartfelt gratitude to the Niuean Knowledge holders for discussing, sharing and coming together with the museum to enlighten us all on vagahau Niue!
From Sunday 18 October until Saturday 24 October, the Museum will be illuminated every evening in red, white and blue in recognition of Niue Language Week.