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Niue Language Week

Fakaalofa lahi atu! 

In 2020, we celebrate Niue Language Week from Sunday 18 October - Saturday 24 October. The 2020 theme is ‘Faliki e tau momoui he tau atuhau ke he Vagahau Niue ’ which in English translates to, “Lay the foundations - give rise to Vagahau Niue for generations". This year's theme reminds us of the need to not only respect and treasure our languages and cultures but to work daily to ensure the foundation remains strong for generations to come.

About Niue Language Week

Flag of Niue.

Niue is one of world's largest coral islands. Niue peoples are the fourth largest Pacific community living in Aotearoa New Zealand with over 30,000 people, 75% of whom live in Auckland. (2018 Census)

Niue Language Week provides an opportunity for students to learn, speak, and celebrate the indigenous language of Niue, through language, song, dance, cultural displays, and community events.

Niue Language Week helps all New Zealanders journey towards shared cultural understandings. Learning a new language gives us insight into new ways of thinking, and to different beliefs and cultural practices. Through this learning we acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help us live in our culturally diverse world.

Curriculum connections

NZC Curriculum icon.

Vagahau Niue Week supports the curriculum principles of cultural diversity and inclusion, and provides an opportunity for students to explore the values of diversity, community, and respect. Students can achieve learning outcomes described in the learning languages area and make use of key competencies, especially using language, symbols and texts, and relating to others.

How can you get involved?

Some ideas for classroom programmes or school-wide activities:

Make connections to your community
There is a chance that you will have some Niuean speakers in your school community. Encourage those students and their families to be experts during Niue Language Week and validate their expertise in front of other students. Support them to teach Niuean and prepare the Niue Language Week celebrations for the school, placing an emphasis on shared language experiences.

Discussion starters 
Use the following questions as discussion starters with your class:

  • "Why is it important for all New Zealanders to celebrate and learn Niuean?" 
  • "What benefits will this bring to New Zealanders of Niuean descent?" 

This YouTube video could be used to explore how Niuean New Zealanders are working together to protect their language and culture.  

Learn some simple words and phrases
Words and phrases you could try:

  • Hello: Fakalofa atu
  • Good morning: Monuina e pogipogi
  • Goodbye (to one person): Koe kia
  • Have a nice day: Monuina e aho
  • Please: Fakamolemole
  • Thank you: Fakaue
  • How are you?: Malolō nakai a koe?
  • Food time!: Magaaho Kai!

You can use this education language resource to learn the basics in Vagahau Niue.

Explore what it means to be Niuean
Inspired by “You know you are Niuean when…” , ask your Niue students to give a speech on this theme. Make it into a YouTube clip, or ask other schools in your cluster to participate and use it as a theme for a speech competition.

Pasifika dual language books
Ask a grandparent or parent to come and read to children in the classroom/library at lunchtime. Check your resource room for Vagahau Niue titles from the Pasifika dual language resourcesIf students have Vagahau Niue speakers at home, give them Vagahau Niue books to take home.

Weaving
In Niue, weaving (especially hats) is a tradition carried out by both men and women. Watch this video which describes the value of weaving in Niue. Introduce your students to basic weaving skills by getting them to weave placemats using coloured paper. Older students could try harder designs instead of the basic straight lines. 

Instructional series 

Another great way to get your students involved in Niue Language Week is to incorporate it into your reading and writing programme. The Instructional Series offers the following texts: 

John Pule, Artist of the Pacific, School Journal Level 4, October 2012
This article describes the life and work of John Pule, a well-known Pasifika artist and poet. 

Lavalava, Ready to Read, Level 1
In this personal report, Sofi, a girl from Niue, talks about her family and when they wear lavalava.

Useful resources

Vagahau Niue Language Guidelines (PDF 8.4MB)
Tau Hatakiaga ma e Vagahau Niue: The Niue Language Guidelines offers pathways for strengthening the knowledge and use of the Niue language. It has been designed to support Niue as an additional language in New Zealand early childhood and school settings. It sets out what learners need in order to communicate effectively in Niue, includes suggestions for the teaching and learning of Niue, and is aligned with Te Whāriki and The New Zealand Curriculum.

Haia! An introduction to Vagahau Niue (PDF 6 MB)
This communicative language resource provides an integrated package of materials designed to offer flexible, entry-level lessons for teachers and students who are new learners of Vagahau Niue. 

Ministry for Pacific Peoples – Niue Language Week
This webpage provides information about Niue Language Week and includes a downloadable poster, banners, and a calendar of events. 

Niue Language Week resource (online PDF)
This 2016 education resource was developed to support learning during Niue Language Week. 

Niuean Language Fact Sheet 
This fact sheet developed by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples contains information about the culture and language of Niue. 

Our Niuean cultural experience
In this blog, Karl Vasau, principal of Rowandale Primary School in South Auckland, reflects on a cultural exchange to Niue and shares some activities that his school uses to promote the language and culture of Niue.

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

LEAP
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.

Tapasā (online PDF)
Tapasā is a framework and tool designed to build the cultural competencies of teachers and leaders, helping them engage with Pacific learners and their parents, families, and communities to make the biggest difference in a child’s educational success.

Do you have a story to share about Niue Language Week?

  • How do you include the language and culture of Niue in your local curriculum?
  • What Niue Language Week projects have your students been involved in?

We would love to hear from you. Drop us a line at nzcurriculum@tki.org.nz. We will publish the best teaching and learning ideas on this resource page.

Updated on: 19 Oct 2020


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