Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga - Tonga Language Week 2020 kicked off Sunday 6 September, and runs until Saturday 12 September.

Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga celebrates the culture and language of the more than 60,000 people of Tongan heritage who live in Aotearoa New Zealand. Each year a different theme is used to promote the richness of the Tonga language and culture with the Tongan community and all New Zealanders.

The theme for Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga 2020 is Fakakoloa ‘o Aotearoa ‘aki ‘a e Lotu Mo’oni - Enriching Aotearoa New Zealand through Prayer and Faith.

This year the TEU Tangata Pasifika Advisory Network invited members to share a poem, story, personal experience, video, an article or contribution of importance that reflects members’ Tongan culture and identity in Aotearoa.

The response from Tongan members was fantastic, and took many forms.

Dr Telesia Kalavite, TEU member and Lecturer at Te Tumu School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo University of Otago, shared her work on Tongan translation of two classics in children’s literature.

Maria Meredith, Co-Chair of TEU Tangata Pasifika Advisory Group, Pasifika rep to TEU Council, and Programme Manager at Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau - University of Auckland, shared a poem ‘Who am I?’, exploring her Pasifika and Tongan identity, and role as educator.

Anna Tolia Ulakai-Cullen, TEU member and Senior Lecturer at Te Whare Takiura o Manuka – Manukau Institute of Technology shared a traditional fananga or fairy tale shared by elders during times of bereavement, and the importance of her memory of these moments.

For more information on Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga visit: Ministry for Pacific Peoples, or here for a helpful Tongan language resource.