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Tokelauan Language Week/Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau

Malo ni! Tokelauan Language Week is being held from Sunday 27 October – Saturday 2 November 2019.

For people from Tokelau living in New Zealand, family, community, and language are the centre of Faka-Tokelau, the Tokelauan way of life.  Over half of the country’s Tokelau community live in the Porirua and Hutt Valley areas of Wellington and there are also Tokelau communities in Auckland, Taupō, and Rotorua. Although your school may not have direct links to Tokelau, this national week provides the opportunity to introduce your students to the culture and language of Tokelau, helping to keep Gagana Tokelau alive in New Zealand. Why not connect electronically with another school in New Zealand, in order to learn Gagana Tokelau from the experts?

Links to The New Zealand Curriculum

Tokelauan Language Week/Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau supports the curriculum principles of cultural diversity and inclusion, and provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the vision of connection to a global community, explore the values of diversity, community, and respect and make use of key competencies, especially using language, symbols and texts, and relating to others.

By teaching Pasifika languages, schools can help meet the vision and goals of the Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017 (PEP). PEP is aimed at raising Pasifika learners’ participation, engagement and achievement in education from early learning through to tertiary level. The Plan’s vision is to see "Five out of five Pasifika learners participating, engaging and achieving in education, secure in their identities, languages and cultures and contributing fully to Aotearoa New Zealand’s social, cultural and economic wellbeing". One of the high level Government goals for Pasifika education is for emphasis on the importance of Pasifika identities, languages, and cultures.

What could your school do to celebrate?

  • Learn some simple greetings and salutations in Tokelau.

Hello - Malo ni

Welcome - Malo te aofia mai

Please - Fakamolemole

Thank you - Fakafetai

May you be blessed in God's love - Ke manuiakoei te alofa o te Atua

  • Take part in events around your local community

Research and discuss the effects of migration on language. This 2013 blog is a good starting point.

  • Explore music from Tokelau by accessing Into Music 2 – Ki te La (Digistore item TLF-ID R81794). This resource collection includes a teaching unit for children in years 4 to 6, a supporting soundtrack, and a set of teaching notes. The collection is centred on a Tokelauan piece of music called Ki te La by Opetaia Foa‘i.
  • Integrate Gagana Tokelau by using by using simple phrases or words for an art lesson, to lead an assembly, or run a PE lesson.
  • Share your expertise with another school. Older students could mentor a Tokelau cultural group, or teach younger students some basic language phrases.

Key resources

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples has worked closely with the community to develop a Tokelauan language resource. It includes pronunciation guides, activity ideas, songs, and cultural information.

Community poster (PDF 8 MB)
This year’s Tokelau Language Week poster was developed by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples with language assistance provided by the Tokelau Wellington Leadership Group.  

Gagana Tokelau: The Tokelau Language Guidelines and Muakiga! An Introduction to Gagana Tokelau 
These teaching and learning guides are designed to support the teaching and learning of the Gagana Tokelau in New Zealand schools. They are aimed at all levels.

Tokelauan language fact sheet (PDF 860 KB)
Find helpful words, phrases, and proverbs. 

Tokelau dictionary
An online Gagana Tokelau dictionary

Seven things you should know about Tokelau
Seven things you should know about Tokelau from Te Papa's blog.

Te Vaka
A traditionally-influenced, contemporary Pacific band. Their songs are almost all in the language of Tokelau.

Have you seen?

Effective teaching for Pasifika students – Strategies for success
This film series provides a range of strategies to support the achievement of Pasifika students. 

Supporting Resources

Pasifika Education Community
This TKI site has resources, curriculum links, and guidelines for teachers working alongside Pasifika communities.

LEAP is a professional learning resource developed for teachers working in mainstream New Zealand classrooms with bilingual Pasifika students.

Inclusive Education Guides for Schools – Supporting Pasifika students
This guide focuses on inclusive teaching and learning strategies that can be used in the classroom to create a more effective learning environment for all Pasifika students.

School journal resources

Look for journal stories with a Tokelauan theme. Two that would work well to support this learning are:

Lighting the Way with Solar Energy by Andrew & Anna Dickson
When Tokelau decided to switch to renewable energy, they thought critically about all the options. They decided that solar energy was a cost-effective option suited to the sunny Tokelauan climate. Over four thousand solar panels were installed on Tokelau, making them the first country in the world to use 100 percent renewable energy. Now they hope to inspire others to make the switch.

An Invasion of Yellow Crazies by Allan Burne
The islands of Tokelau have been invaded by yellow crazy ants. Scientists are investigating where they are and what can be done about them. By collecting and recording data, they can identify the extent of the problem and figure out the best course of action.

Updated on: 01 Oct 2018