Mālo ni!

Sunday 23th October – Saturday 29th October 2022 is Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau, Tokelau Language Week.

Header image: Vilivili (pump drill); AWMM 1998.13.11, 55491.


From Sunday 23 October until Saturday 29 October, the Museum will be illuminated every evening in white, yellow and blue in recognition of Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau, Tokelau Language Week.

Join us for onsite celebrations

You're invited to join us for a free performance Under the Tanoa.

Celebrate Tokelau Language Week

Celebrate Tokelau Language Week


Join us in celebrating Tokelau Language Week. On Sunday 23 October, the Tupulaga group will perform fatele (traditional dances), showcasing the inati system which sustains community traditions in Tokelau.

Enjoy singing and the distinct sounds of Tokelauan musical instruments, and admire the vibrant and vivid colours of attire unique to the Tokelau community.

Our Tokelauan library

Our Tokelauan library

This Tokelau Language Week we're inviting members of the public to come to our Library on Level 2 and read our selection of books on display that celebrate the history and language of Tokelau. 

See here for the Library opening hours.

See some of our Tokelau book selection below.

Click on each cover to read more. 

Rusiate Nayacakalou Medal 

A recognition of excellence

Fuli Pereira

Curator Pacific

Fuli Pereira

Congratulations to Fuli Pereira, who was awarded the prestigious Rusiate Nayacakalou Medal from the Polynesian Society for 'significant contributions to scholarly studies in Oceania’. As Curator Pacific, Fuli has worked tirelessly over the last 26 years at the Museum to advance and innovate Pacific-centred museum methodologies.

In 2019 Fuli led the ground-breaking PCAP project, which increased accessibility to our collections for descendent communities across Tāmaki Makaurau and enriched our own understanding of the taonga we have in our care.

Fuli’s career at Auckland Museum is defined by an absolute shift in the way consultation is carried out and a dedication to descendant communities of makers and owners of collections in the care of Auckland Museum. For Tokelau Language Week, she reflects on some lessons she’s learned, how change is made, and what she hopes to see happen next.


In addition to her role at Auckland Museum, Fuli is an accomplished author. Leone Samu (Associate Curator, Documentary Heritage, Pacific Collections) selected some of Fuli's books available in the Museum's collection.

Click on each cover to read more.

Tokelauan knowledge holders discuss their meahina

Watch the video to discover more about these meahina (taonga) in our collection

Things to read

Have a moment to spare? Take a deep dive into some of our stories

Pa Atu ma Kahoa: The pearl-shell lures and pendants of Tokelau

Pa Atu ma Kahoa: The pearl-shell lures and pendants of Tokelau

Curator Pacific Fuli Pereira discusses the importance of pearl-shell fish lures in Tokelau culture and how these are circulated in the most egalitarian of communities.

Image: Pa atu (fishing lure); AWMM 1970.208, 43860.

Read more

Tautai: The knowledge sharing of Tokelau’s master fishermen

Tautai: The knowledge sharing of Tokelau’s master fishermen

By Leone Samu (Associate Curator, Documentary Heritage, Pacific Collections)

In 2008, a group of Porirua-based Atafu elders who had migrated to New Zealand in the 1960s and 1970s published a booklet entitled Hikuleo i te papa o Tautai. The booklet was written in gagana Tokelau and detailed the traditional fishing methods of Atafu. In 2012, the elders’ booklet was edited and translated into English by Emeritus Professor Anthony Hooper and Dr Iuta Tinielu under the title Echoes on Fishermen’s Rock.

Master fishermen are known as tautai in gagana Tokelau. Although tautai may once have closely guarded this body of fishing knowledge, the elders elected to share their knowledge with the intent of passing it on to youth especially those growing up outside of Tokelau.  

This desire to share with the next generation has been similarly reflected in the generosity of Auckland-based Tokelauan elders who participated in Auckland Museum’s Pacific Collection Access Project (PCAP). Over several talanoa sessions in early 2019, these elders discussed Tokelauan fishing practices and the prowess of tautai, among other topics which helped to increase our documentation and understanding of the Tokelauan treasures in the Pacific collection. These talanoa were facilitated by the Community Lead for the Tokelauan community, Reverend Iutana Pue. The records of many of the objects examined can be explored through Collections Online.

Image: Pā taki aheu (pearl shell fishing lure); AWMM 1970.208, 43862. Attributed to Dr Iona Tinielu of Fakaofo, tautai and trained medical doctor.

Things to do

Get colouring and crosswording this Tokelau Language Week

Tokelauan crosswords

Did you know that the Tokelauan alphabet only has 15 letters? Find the Tokelauan equivalent for the English word clues in these crosswords for Tokelau Language Week. 

Get solving below!

Crossword one Crossword two

Colour in two beautiful Tokelauan ili

'Ili' is the Tokelauan word for a woven fan. A very practical thing to have on hand on a hot day, but also a beautifully woven object on its own. We have made two ili from the Museum's collection into colouring in pages.

First ili Second ili

See more

See more

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

Visit the archive

Flora of Tokelau, by Art Whistler, 2018, published by Isle Botanica, Honoluu. 125p.