Sunday 25th September – Saturday 1nd October 2022 is Te Vaiaso o te ‘Gana Tuvalu, Tuvalu Language Week.

To celebrate, we are sharing Tuvalu taonga and stories from various Museum departments. We will also be lighting up the Museum with the national flag colours of Tuvalu and sharing a significant talk on climate change and its effect on the island and the Tuvalu people.

Header image: mea teu fale (wall hanging); 2015.50.5, 56763.5

From Sunday 25 September – Saturday 1 October, the Museum will be illuminated every evening in red and white in recognition of Tuvalu Language Week.

Join us for onsite celebrations

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

Celebrate Tuvalu Language Week

Fakamanatu te vaiaso o te gagana Tuvalu

Celebrate Tuvalu Language Week

On Saturday, 1 October, the group Nanumaga will perform onsite at the Museum, displaying their colourful and unique attire, joyful dances and unmistakable singing style.

Join us for a very special day marking the fifth year of showcasing Tuvalu language and cultural practice at the Auckland Museum.

The Future of the Tuvaluan Language

Interview with Fala Haulangi, radio presenter on PMN, about the dangers faced by Tuvalu language.


About Fala Haulangi

Fala Haulangi champions equality, which might explain why she works as an union organizer and is a Komiti Pasifika member with E tū. She strongly advocates for Living Wage, Equal Pay, migrant workers’ rights, climate change and lately Fair Pay Agreements. She wears many hats, such as serving on the Police Pacific Advisory Group for the Auckland District, representing E tū and the Pacific voice in the Temporary Migrant Workers Exploitation Community Group with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. She has been a board member of the Migrant Action Trust in Auckland and co-convener of the Pacific Women’s Watch (New Zealand) Inc. The most important platform she uses to serve her Tuvaluan community is Radio 531 PI, where she is an announcer for the Tuvaluan program. Looking after the most vulnerable, whether it be people or language, would be the best way to describe Fala.

From Online Cenotaph

Stories of service and remembrance. 

Help us identify our Tuvaluan service personnel

Do you know these soldiers?

Help us identify our Tuvaluan service personnel

Online Cenotaph includes Pacific service personnel who served in the New Zealand Armed Forces from the First World War onwards. We have only identified 8 service personnel of Tuvaluan descent who served in the Maori Contingent during the First World War. This includes the well known Sergeant Kaipati who was born in Nanumea, Ellice Island. You can read more about his service at nzhistory. We would love for you to add more details, images and messages to these records. If you know of someone who served in the New Zealand Forces from the Ellice Islands / Tuvalu but is not yet identified please get in touch and we will amend their record. 


Kelesoma Saloa

Community Coordinator & Guest Kaiako Auckland Museum

Kelesoma Saloa

Ko oi matou nei?

Mea nei se fesili e fakapulele mai faeloa i te mafaufau ia matou kola ne malaga mai nisi fenua. Kafai e kilo matou ki tino i motou tafa i konei Aukilani, e nofo faeloa matou o mafaufau ki te tulaga o matou i loto i te tokoukega o vaega tino valevale. Kofea matou i loto nei, e ofi matou i fea i loto nei? Read more.

Who are we?

This is a question that we as a migration group constantly ask ourselves unconsciously. As we look at our neighbors here in Auckland, we find ourselves in admiration of a diversified canvas where we search for our niche. Where are we in here, where do we fit in here? Read more.

The art of kolose

Kolose is the Tuvaluan word for a unique form of crochet. A modern and innovative technique, kolose is used in creating Tuvaluan attire and ornamentations such as gatu kolose (crocheted tops) and petticoats used in dance and on special occasions, and wall hangings used in homes. The combination of patterns and colour schemes are highly distinctive of the kolose artform. This standout body of art works was acquired into the Museum’s collection in 2014.

The makers are members of Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa, an Auckland-based arts collective of women from Niutao, Tuvalu, established in 2012. The collective is committed to creating and sharing Tuvaluan art, and particularly to teach kolose to the young generation. This inspirational work led to their exhibition Kolose: The Art of Tuvalu Crochet at Mangere Arts Centre Ngā Tohu o Uenuku (2014), curated by Marama T-Pole and Kolokesa Mahina-Tuai. The exhibition also went on tour to Lake House Arts Centre (2014) and Pātaka Art Museum (2017).

Explore the art of kolose in the gallery below. Click on each image to learn the unique story behind each piece.

How ili (fans) are made

Auckland Museum holds an extensive collection of ili from Tuvalu. Here, Kelesoma Saloa describes how these intricate pieces are created.

I Tuvalu, a ili (tio) e faite mai te kaumoe o niu. Te kaumoe e fole koa saka ai ki vai, oti koa soe ai te kaikaiga i luga i te launiu keatea. Mai kona koa pelupelu ai fakafoliki koa tauaki ai ki te laa. Kafai koa malolo koa lanu kena a taa. Ko taa uli mo taa kula e fakalanu ki sua o kaupaipu o togo mo aka o nonu.

A te foitini o te ili e fakamakeke ki kautuaniu, kae fakagaligali ki fulu o manu eva io me ni lausulu fakalanulanu. I aso nei koa fakaaoga ne tino a raffia mo fakagaligali io me fakalanulanu valevale o ata i luga i luga i ili.

Ne tusigina ne Kelesoma Saloa

In Tuvalu, ili (fine plaited fans) are primarily made from young inner coconut leaves which are still white and a little green in colour. These leaves are boiled in water then the surface layer on one side of the leaf is removed, leaving white strands. Finally the strands are sun dried, making them ready for plaiting. To dye the strands black or red the fibre is soaked in liquid extracted from mangrove seeds and noni plant (Morinda citrifolia) roots.

Coconut midribs are used for the structure and to strengthen the fan. Feathers, wool or dyed pandanus leaves are added for decorative purposes. Nowadays people use colourful synthetic raffia to make different more colourful patterns on the fans.

Written by Kelesoma Saloa

Listen to Kelesoma Saloa read this story in the Tuvalu language

aucklandmuseum · Ili: Fans from Tuvalu

Save Tuvalu to save the world

A call to the rest of the world by former Tuvaluan Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga (Rt Hon.): Please hear our voices, listen to our plea, “We encounter the utmost impact of global warming. We might be the first to perish from the face of the earth, but the rest will follow ... So please save Tuvalu to save the world”.

The ocean is one of our life lines, but now sea level rise is our greatest challenge. Watch Community Coordinator & Guest Kaiako Auckland Museum, Kelesoma Saloa as he discusses the threat of climate change from a Tuvaluan perspective.


Tuvalu through the collection

Here are a few objects from the Museum's collection, selected by staff for their particular significance to Tuvaluan culture.

Explore more

Explore more

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

Image: Te puukao inu. 1954.11.42, 33713.

Visit the archive