Fakalofa lahi atu!

Sunday 16th October – Saturday 22th October 2022 is Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niue, Niue Language Week.

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.

 

Header image: Hat made by Molie Eva Huka; AWMM 2019.31.11, 837.

Paulina Bentley

Tautai Intern, Pacific Collection, Human History

Paulina Bentley

This year's theme for Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niue is, Kia tupuolaola e moui he Tagata Niue - May the Tagata Niue Thrive.

When I hear the Niuean language being spoken by older family members, I am often reminded of its pleasing sound. It brings smiles to faces to those that try to speak its tongue and a warm acknowledgement felt both physically and spiritually.

It can be hard to take the first step to reconnect with the language, but that's all you need. Just the courage to start and the tenacity to pursue and preserve what was always a part of you. The Niuean people will always thrive no matter their circumstances, so too should the language.

As part of Niue Language Week, Paulina wrote about the stroke of luck that saw her discover a family connection within the Pacific Collection of taoga Niue. Click 'read more' to uncover the fascinating story.

Read more


Paulina (middle with sunglasses) with her family in Niue

 

Niuean language expert Ioane Aleke Fa'avae

Niuean language expert Ioane Aleke Fa'avae

We caught up with Ioane Aleke Fa'avae, a tufuga (expert) in the Niuean vagahau (language). He shared with us his unconditional dedication to teaching the language and culture to Aotearoa-born Niueans, and explained how he encourages them to reconnect with their tupuna (ancestors) through songs and participation in cultural events.

+Learn more about Ioane

Ioane Aleke Fa’avae originates from the village of Mutalau in Niue. He is a skilled master of Niue oratory and traditions, as well as a choreographer, composer, educator, actor, author, and playwright. As a tufuga and an accomplished heritage artist, his expertise and skills in vagahau Niue and culture are often sourced for various projects on both a national and international level.

Ioane is currently a Lecturer of vagahau Niue language at Manukau Institute of Technology and a Learning Advisor Pacific at Unitec. He is a current board member of Pacific Dance New Zealand. Previously, Ioane was the Niue community lead for The Pacific Collection Access Project (PCAP) and a former Guest Pacific Educator at Auckland Museum. He has also worked as vagahau Niue tutor for adults at the Pasifika Education Centre and as a broadcaster, journalist, and news-reader at New Zealand's largest Pacific media outlet, Pacific Media Network.

Ioane was the recipient of a Creative New Zealand Arts Council 2014 Pacific Heritage Arts Award for his contribution to New Zealand arts. In recognition of his work in vagahau Niue language and culture on an international level, he received The University of Auckland Blue’s Arts and Cultural Award (Culture and Language) - the highest accolade attained at university level in 2010 and 2011.


Ioane Aleke Fa'avae at the Takalo Project 2020.

 

Poetry meets hiapo

Poetry meets hiapo

Two New Zealand-born Niuean artists, Cora-Allan Wickliffe and Jess Pasisi have collaborated to create a beautiful contemporary Hiapo work called Koe higoa haaku Hiapo.

Acquired for the Museum’s Documentary Heritage collection in late 2020, the work was displayed as part of the Love & Loss exhibition in the Sainsbury-Horrocks gallery.

You can take a virtual tour of the Love & Loss exhibition and visit Koe higoa haaku Hiapo online. You can also listen to Jess Pasisi read her poem in our Love & Loss app.

SEE IN VIRTUAL TOUR HEAR IN APP


Koe higoa haaku Hiapo 2020
Cora-Allan Wickliffe and Jessica Pasisi
Ata (paper mulberry bark), mangrove bark extract, burnt tuitui
Auckland Museum Collection: GN434.5 HIG

Kia Fakatupuolamoui


Hanei e tufuga tutu hiapo he tufuga-lagi-tua-taha ko Cora-Allan Wickliffe.

Kua liu fakatino mai e haana a alito mo e folafolaaga mo e omoiaga he alaga tala he pulotu ko Dr Jess Pasisi.

Kua tigahau ni e logotuki he leo atu ke he tupua ko Hakumani ke liuaki mai ainei e tufuga tutu hiapo.

The exhibition label for Koe higoa haaku Hiapo as written in Vagahau Niue was provided by Ioane Aleke Fa’avae.

Call me home


‘“Hina-e! Hina-o! Hina” come home hiapo’

Follow the story of this hiapo as it draws breath before going on a journey from Niue across oceans. In a lonely foreign country, the hiapo longs for the warmth of its home and people.

The work created by New Zealand-born artist Cora-Allan Wickliffe and writer Jess Pasisi reflects the real-life journey of hiapo (barkcloth), an artform that had largely disappeared from everyday life into museum collections around the world.

Through their practices Cora-Allan and Jess reconnect hiapo to the present, bringing it back to family traditions.

Tigilau Ness on music, activism, family and the resurgence of Niuean language and culture

Tigilau Ness on music, activism, family and the resurgence of Niuean language and culture

Find out why music is Tigilau Ness’s favourite way to promote Niuean culture and learn about the special concert he performed in Niue with his son, Che Fu.

Tigilau reflects on learning Niuean, his activism, the importance of family, and the awakening of younger generations to embrace their culture and language.

+Learn more about Tigilau

Niuean New Zealander Tigilau Ness is an activist and reggae artist, performing under the name Unity Pacific. Tigilau was involved in the founding of the Polynesian rights group, Polynesian Panthers in 1971. The group, modelled after the Black Panthers in the United States, targeted racial inequalities for Māori and Pacific Islanders in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Tigilau was active opposing apartheid and the 1981 Springbok Tour, leading to him being arrested during a protest and spending nine months in Mount Eden Prison. He also protested for Māori land rights, including the occupation of Bastion Point.

Tigilau is an accomplished musician. He co-founded the reggae group Twelve Tribes of Israel in the 1970s, and started a band called Unity in 1975. He formed the Unity Reggae Band in 1985, releasing an album called From Street to Sky in 2003 about his struggles against injustice and the problems he faced growing up in New Zealand. In 2009, Tigilau won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the fifth Pacific Music Awards. In 2016, he and his band Unity Pacific won the 2016 Vodafone New Zealand Music Award Tui for Best Roots Album.

In his personal life, Tigilau is a Rastafarian. He is the father of hip-hop musician Che Fu (Che Ness), and often performs as a member of Che's band The Krates. He is a fluent speaker of Niuean, and widely renowned in the Auckland Pacific community for his long years of activism, journalism, and cultural work, including organising festivals.

This video includes a section of footage from Te Ao News Māori Television

Early-1960s Niue by Harry Coleman

Auckland Museum holds a collection of close to 400 images of Niue in the early 1960s by New Zealander and WW2 veteran, Harry Alexander Coleman (1913-1995). View a selection of these images chosen by Leone Samu (Associate Curator, Documentary Heritage, Pacific Collections) then learn more about him via the link below.

Gallery (click to expand)

Niue in pictures

Niue in pictures

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

Read more

 

Writer and educator Lynn Lolokini Ikimotu Pavihi

Writer and educator Lynn Lolokini Ikimotu Pavihi

Ministry of Education Pacific Education Award winner, Lynn Lolokini Ikimotu Pavihi has been translating information packs about COVID-19 for her elders and ensuring the right information about vaccinations is reaching community members.

Discover the work that vagahau Niue fifine tufuga (expert - woman) Lynn is doing for her Niue community. Learn about her dedication to teaching and writing the Niue language and why she encourages Niueans to reconnect with their island.

+Learn more about Lynn

Lynn Lolokini Ikimotu Pavihi was born in Niue and raised in the village of Avatele. She is also of Samoan heritage through her father. Lynn was educated in Niue before moving to New Zealand to study further.

A mother of two, Lynn is passionate about vagahau Niue and educating children. She has authored books in vagahau Niue and serves as a vagahau Niue tutor and translator for the Pasifika Education Centre. Lynn has also educated her community about the pandemic, acting as the vagahau Niue face and voice of the Government’s COVID-19 messaging.

Lynn is a senior leader and serves as the associate principal at Favona Primary. She was recognised for her contribution to inspiring children in their language journey when she won the the Ministry of Education Pacific Education Award at the recent Sunpix Awards.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lynn transitioned to educating online, gaining international interest from Niueans living abroad. Lynn used online platforms like social media to share with Niue audiences her love of vagahau Niue and Niue culture, including demonstrating how to cook traditional Niue dishes (e.g. polo tosisi, fai kai) through her 11-year-old son Siuni and reading books online in vagahau Niue by Niuean authors, including herself.

 

Words with Lynn

Have a go at these Niuean words and expressions used by our guest Lynn:

lologo - song / pelapela - mud / mataafaga - beach / totou - to read / fefeua - to play / aoga - school / lanu - colour / kehekehe - various, many / moko - child / pepa - book / lalamouga - to carry someone on one's shoulders / tapunu - peak, summit

 

 

Songwriter and choreographer Leki Jackson-Bourke

Songwriter and choreographer Leki Jackson-Bourke

Watch as songwriter and choreographer Leki Jackson-Bourke talks about his love for music and dance. Leki passionately believes in using songs to convey his message to young Niueans, helping them to connect back to their ancestors’ land Niue Nukututaha (Niue, the Island that Stands Alone), Niue Haaku Motu Fakahele (Niue, my Beloved Island).

Leki shared why “it gets him” that the work of artists is not always acknowledged, how nature and the Bible inspire him in his artwork, and the importance of learning songs from the island.

+Learn more about Leki

New Zealand-born Leki Jackson-Bourke is of Niuean, Tongan and Samoan descent.

He is a graduate of the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts, and an emerging Pasifika artist who has toured both nationally and internationally with New Zealand companies that included Massive Company's The Brave (Hawaii Tour, 2015), The Factory by Kila Kokonut Krew (Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 2014; Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2014), My Name is Pilitome by Vela Manusaute (Niue Arts Festival, 2015).

Leki received the 2015 Auckland Is My Playground Award for Youth Leadership in Performing Arts awarded by Auckland Council.

Aside from acting, Leki is a playwright, producer and choreographer:

In 2017, he was named Best Newcomer at the Auckland Theatre Awards for the parody, Meet the Fakas.

In 2019, he was the Emerging Pasifika Writer in Resident at the International Institute of Modern Letters, recipient of the Creative New Zealand Emerging Pasifika Artist Award and the Creative New Zealand Todd New Writer's Bursary Grant.

In 2020, Leki was featured in Pacific Dance NZ’s Transform Series as a Niuean dance choreographer.

 

Words with Leki

Have a go at these Niuean words and expressions used by our guest Leki:

fale tapu - church / matua fifine & matua taane - mum & dad / koli fakaniue - Niuean style dance / vagahau - language / fakama - shame / fakaako - learn / kaitoa - selfish, greedy / aga fakamotu - culture / tau lologo - music / tohi tapu - bible/ lologo fiafia - happy song / lupe - pigeon

 

Listen and hum along to Talagi Family Reunion TA ME

Leki co-wrote this song with Tom Misikea, Salote Talagi, and Anthony Liuvaie. Sing along with the lyrics provided below.

+Lyrics (Niuean)

V1) KO NIUE HAKU MOTU FAKAHELE
KO NIUE NUKUTUTAHA
MOTUTEFUA, MATAMAKA HE MOANA HE ATU PASIFIKA KO E HAKU MOTU NE FANAU AI
AUA NEKE NIMO TAU TUPUNA I TUAI
TO NAKAI NIMO TUKULAGI
KO NIUE FEKAI

CH) TAU FUATA NIUE
TUTŪ LĀ KI LUGA
PATIPATI E TAU LIMA
MO E KALAGA FIAFIA
TAOFI MAU E AGA FAKAMOTU
TAU FAKAAKOAGA MAI IA LAUTOLU
HANEI KUA TAOGA MAU
KEHE TAU FUATA NIUE

V2) HAVILIVILI FANO E MATAGI
KO E TAU MANU LELE NE FELELE HE PULAGI
KO E TAU LUPE NE KOLOLO MAI I LUGA HE AKAU KO E MOOTA
KO E MONUINA MO E FULUFULUOLA
E FONUA TAPU NE TAKELE MAI
HE TAU TUPUNA FAKAMUA
KE LATA MA E ATUHAU MUI

+Lyrics (English)

V1) NIUE MY BELOVED ISLAND
NIUE THE ISLAND THAT STANDS ALONE
MOTUTEFUA, THE ROCK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN MY ISLAND WHERE I WAS BORN
DON'T FORGET YOUR ANCESTORS FROM DAYS OF OLD
I WILL NEVER EVER FORGET
MY NIUE FEKAI
 

CH) TO THE YOUTH OF NIUE
STAND UP!
CLAP YOUR HANDS
AND LET OUT A JOYFUL SHOUT
HOLD ON TIGHT TO YOUR CULTURE
THAT THEY HAVE SHARED/TAUGHT YOU
A TREASURED GIFTED THAT YOU CAN HOLD ONTO FOR OUR YOUTH OF NIUE
 

V2) THE WIND IS BLOWING
AS THE BIRDS FLY FREELY IN THE SKY
THE PIGEONS SINGING FROM HIGH ABOVE THE MOOTA TREETOP WE ARE BLESSED WITH SUCH BEAUTY
SACRED IS THE LAND WHERE WE COME FROM
OUR ANCESTORS OF OLD
GIFTED TO OUR YOUNG GENERATION

 

The wild plants of Niue

The Auckland Museum Herbarium holds over 400 plant specimens from Niue, dating back to 1877. The main collectors are: Henry A. Mair, a New Zealand sea-trader, who collected 35 ferns there in 1877; S. Percy Smith, a New Zealand civil servant and amateur ethnologist, who collected 125 mainly flowering plants in 1901; and botanist Rhys Gardner, research associate of Auckland Museum, who collected a similar number in 2005.

Gallery (click to expand)

 

Gardner published two personally-illustrated books on the flora: Trees and Shrubs of Niue (2011) and Ferns and herbs of Niue (2013); and two papers in 2021 on the flora: The naturalised flora of Niue and The native vascular plants of Niue, SW Pacific. There are no known plants endemic to Niue.

Gallery (click to expand)

 

Swaying titi

By Paulina Bentley (Tautai Intern, Pacific Collection)

A titi fou is a skirt that is hand woven from fou (lace bark), a resource plentiful in Niue. It is worn for special occasions and to adorn a dancer during performances.

The delicate texture of the fibre is achieved by stripping the bark and submerging it in the sea for several days until the hard fibres have been loosened and can be easily pulled away. In many cases, fou is dyed in various colours to create a unique titi fou. It is often accompanied with woven rosettes along the waistband.

As more Niueans now live in New Zealand than in Niue, titi fou are not made as often today. Fou does not grow well in New Zealand’s climate, but Niueans have continued the tradition of making titi with new materials. Contemporary titi are made from the ti leaf plant that was imported into New Zealand and now grows here alongside the rest of the Pacific. The ti leaf is cut in half and then woven together or with a strip of fabric. When worn, it acts similar to a titi fou except this titi is often oiled as well to help emphasise a dancer’s sway during their performance.

Titi fou are a significant aspect of Niue’s material culture, and the adaptations by the Niuean community to keep their culture strong.

 

From Sunday 16 October until Saturday 22 October, the Museum will be illuminated every evening in blue, red, and gold in recognition of Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niue, Niue Language Week.

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FAAHI TAPU HE VAGAHAU NIUE ARCHIVE

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Visit our archive of Niue Language Week content from previous years.

Image: Coleman, Harry (1960s) Harvesting taro. Auckland War Memorial Museum neg. M1658.1.

Visit the archive