Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niue | Niue Language Week

Fakaalofa Iahi atu ki amutolu oti!

It’s Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niue | Niue Language Week, and this year’s theme is Fakatūleva e Vagahau Niue mo e Tau Aga Fakamotu ma e Tau Atuhau | Sustain Niue Language and Culture for Future Generations.

Vagahau Niue is classified as ‘definitely endangered‘ on the UNESCO Endangered Languages list, making its preservation of particular significance for maintaining a rich Niuean culture for future generations. Over 30,000 people of Niuean heritage reside in Aotearoa New Zealand, and this year’s theme encourages all people of Niuean descent to work together to help sustain Vagahau Niue, and enable the longevity of their cultural connection within Aotearoa.

Help celebrate and preserve Vagahau Niue this week: by reading our language guides and learning about the complex history of Niue in books that explore rich personal narratives, historical accounts and unexpected political trajectories. You could also dive into the visual worlds of contemporary Niuean artists, who are reimagining legends and creating Pasifika superheroes for young adult readers that celebrate the beauty and individuality of Niue.

Check out The Ministry of Pacific Peoples website for a free language guide, an event calendar and downloadable resources for celebrating Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niue within your community. Follow the Niue Language Week Facebook page for updates on community events throughout this week and the entire year. 

Learning Niuean = Tohi ako vagahau Niue / Kaulima, Aiao
Written for adults or teenagers, Learning Niuean is an important tool to help maintain the Niuean language in New Zealand. It makes use of their knowledge of English so they can teach themselves if necessary.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Niue 1774-1974 : 200 years of contact and change / Pointer, Margaret
“Niue, a single isolated island in the South Pacific with formidable cliffs rising from the deep ocean has a surprisingly rich history of colonial contact. Using a wide range of archival materials Margaret Pointer places Niue center stage in an entertaining and thoroughly readable account of this island nation from Captain Cook’s first landings through to 1974, when Niue became self-governing. Text and images unravel a fascinating and colorful Pacific story of the island that stands alone.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A first book for learning Niuean / Kaulima, Aiao
Learning Niuean Book 2 = Tohi ako vagahau Niue / Kaulima, Aiao
“Volumes one and two for learning Niuean, are designed for adults and secondary school learners. Containing vocabulary lists, grammar guides and summaries for those seeking to learn the Niuean language.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Niue and the Great War / Pointer, Margaret
Margaret Pointer traces the lost story of Niue’s involvement in World War I. In 1915, 160 Niuean men joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force as part of the 3rd Māori Reinforcements, who set sail to Auckland and then onto Egypt and France. Most had never left the island before, or worn shoes. Most spoke no English, and had no immunity to European disease. Within three months of leaving New Zealand, over 80 per cent of these men had been hospitalized. This moving story is set in a wider Pacific context and also considers the contribution made by colonial troops to the Allied effort. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Niue rising / Talogi, Toke
“This is a biography of Sir Toke Tufukia Talagi and his life from Niue, a small island in the Pacific, who later became a knight of the realm. Covering his life work and experiences as a businessman, which unwittingly led into politics and the premiership.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tales of Niue nukututaha : in Niuean and English / Feilo, Zora “A bilingual collection of twelve stories, told in both English and Niuean are set on the island if Niue. This is the author’s reinterpretation of myth, legend and storytelling from her native land. Each story is lavishly illustrated by Niuean artist Lange Taufelila.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The Artist and the Whale, David Riley (eBook, or borrow a physical copy here)”Mataginifale is a Niue superhero with a difference. She isn’t known for her super powers, but for her super creativity. One day she had an argument with a whale that tested her thinking skills. The Artist and the Whale is a Niue legend for young adult readers, retold by David Riley and translated into Vagahau Niue by Elviso Togiamua.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Niue Heroes, David Riley (eBook, or borrow a physical copy here) “Niue Heroes tells the inspirational stories of achievers who have Niuean ancestry. It includes legends like Laufoli, Mataginifale and Maui; historical figures such as Sir Robert Rex and Peniamina; and contemporary heroes like Che Fu and Dr Colin Tukuitoga. The book is written to inspire young Niueans, to encourage reading and promote literacy. The book is illustrated by Niuean-Maori artist, Munro Te Whata.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Tonga Language Week

This year’s theme for Tonga Language Week is Ke Tu’uloa ‘a e lea faka-Tonga′ ‘i Aotearoa, meaning Sustaining the Tongan Language in Aotearoa. Ke Tu’uloa ‘a e lea faka-Tonga′ ‘i Aotearoa has a positive and progressive connotation, to support the overarching Pacific Language Weeks theme of Sustainability. The word Tu’uloa in the theme this year means to continuously grow, nurture, and sustain a valued idea, practice, event, or memory in an enduring way.

Explore these informative and educational resources that celebrate Tonga’s rich and diverse cultural history. There’s riveting personal biographies, political histories and interactive lessons for learning to speak Tongan. Show your support to Aotearoa’s Tongan community by participating in local events and celebrations- explore the NZ Tonga Language Week Facebook and the Ministry for Pacific People’s website for event details.

Enjoy the Tongan stories, music, language resources and documentaries in our collection.

Voyages : from Tongan villages to American suburbs / Small, Cathy
Voyages offers a view of the changes in migration, globalization, and ethnographic fieldwork over three decades. The author (whose role after thirty years of fieldwork is both ethnographer and family member) reintroduces the reader to four sisters in the same family-two who migrated to the United States and two who remained in Tonga-and reveals what has unfolded in their lives. Imparting new reflections on how immigration and globalization have affected family, economy, tradition, political life, identity, and the practice of anthropology.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tongan herbal medicine / Whistler, W. Arthur
“The use of medicinal plants dates to prehistoric times when ancient man found that ingestion or application of certain herbs and barks was effective in treating ailments. Herbal medicine is a part of virtually all cultures, and Tonga is no exception. Early visitors in the first decades of the ‘European Era’ in Tongan history noted the relatively minor use of herbal plants, especially in comparison with the adjacent Fiji Islands. Whether or not this evaluation is true may never be learned, but today in Tonga, herbal remedies are used by a large percentage of the population.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Tongan : a South Pacific adventure / Dyck, Dieter
“From refugee to immigrant, from a Kiwi to a Tongan citizen. This fascinating book describes the events of Dieter Dyck’s journey during and after the end of the Second World War: his sea journey on a Dutch immigrant ship; his marriage to a Tongan princess, Senikau; the formation of his painting business Dyck Decorators Ltd.; his conversion and baptism; his involvement in the 39th Auckland Boys’ Brigade Company and the establishment of The Tongan Beach Resort in Vava’u.” (Catalogue)

Tonga’s way to democracy / Campbell, I. C.
“In 2010 after more than a century of oligarchical government Tonga made the bold step to full parliamentary democracy, catching up with the rest of the island Pacific. This book tells the story of that reform, of the long protest movement that preceded it and how the royal family abruptly espoused democracy.” (Catalogue)




Intensive course in Tongan / Shumway, Eric B
“99 lessons on 14 discs, including songs and readings.” (Catalogue)

Tongan chic / Soane  “Soane’s music was a hit in the NZ and UK dance scenes in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Born in the village of Vava’u in Tonga, Soane was a pioneering DJ and dance producer.”



When the Man Went South

“Instructed to set out on a journey by his village chief, Flying Fox heads south to learn about his strengths as a man. During his journey he meets two warring villages and attempts to mediate their differences. Flying Fox applies the lessons he learned on his journey when he returns to his home village to find trouble.” (From IMDb)


Kau Faito’o: Traditional Healers of Tonga

“This is a documentary which both shows the ancient traditional art form of healing, and tries to capture the essence of being a traditional healer in an ever changing environment. Traditional healers are shown collecting, preparing and administering herbal remedies that they have passed down from generation to generation. Healers discuss where, why and how they gained their knowledge and why they choose to carry on age-old customs and practices, despite the fact that Tonga is becoming a nation increasingly dependent on western medicine. Tonga’s traditional healers are adapting to niches such as prenatal care and physical therapy. Interspersed throughout the film are beautiful scenes of water, agriculture, rainforest and people which comprise current island life in the Kingdom of Tonga.” (Adapted from IMDb)

Kuo Hina E Hiapo: The Mulberry is White and Ready for Harvest

“Tapa cloth or ngatu as it is called in Tonga, is cloth made from the bark of the mulberry tree. The inner bark is beaten into fine sheets and painted using traditional designs. After centuries of use, ngatu has literally become the fabric of Tongan society. In Tonga and throughout much of Polynesia, bark cloth has deep symbolic and ceremonial use. At birth, babies are swaddled in it. At marriage, newlyweds line their wedding bed, and at death, the departed are buried wrapped in it. This documentary investigates the highly collaborative process of making ngatu and the organizations of women who carry on with the tradition. While the process continues to be passed on from generation to generation, there are signs of change as a cash economy begins to infiltrate Tongan life. Young people show less interest in such labor intensive endeavor in the face of the older generation’s belief that this tradition will never die.” (From IMDb)


We’re bringing libraries to Wellington’s Pasifika Festival

Our librarians have put together fun and free activities, resources and giveaways aimed for people of all ages and interests to support this year’s Wellington Pasifika Festival.

Visit other countries or new worlds through our free virtual reality experience! From climbing El Capitan to diving down into the Mariana Trench, or flying a car through a dystopian city and more, there is a virtual experience for everyone to try.

Delve into the stories, history and songs of our Pasifika communities by browsing the diverse range of library resources which will be on display.

Say hi to our roving Librarian with their trolley of withdrawn items which they will be giving away to lucky people throughout the afternoon.

Come down to see the library team in the Odlin’s Plaza on the waterfront between 12noon – 6pm this Saturday 23 January 2021. We’re on the grass area outside St John’s bar, near the pedestrian crossing from the Michael Fowler Centre car park.

This summer event includes performance groups from across the Pacific including Mafutaga Tagata Matutua Senior Exercise Group, Israel Star, and opera legend Ben Makisi. The free, whānau friendly event will be hosted by award-winning comedian James Nokise. The full programme is available online.

#StayAtHome Film Festival: Louise’s Māori and Pasifika Picks

Our Kanopy and Beamafilm streaming platforms have a great selection of FREE content from Aotearoa and the Pacific. It’s always good to see our own cultures represented on the screen, so while we are still spending a lot of time at home grab the opportunity to watch some gems that have a Māori and Pasifika kaupapa!

This blog only highlights a small selection of films including emotional movies, documentaries, and a feel good gem about musicians and finding yourself. You will find more if you search ‘Māori’, ‘New Zealand’, or a specific Pasifika country within Kanopy or Beamafilm.

Go ahead and immerse yourself in the stories of Aotearoa and the Pacific!

The Orator

Year: 2011
Length: 106 minutes
Director: Tusi Tamasese

Watch the full film here on Beamafilm!

The Orator is a beautiful and emotional movie that was written and directed by Samoan film-maker Tusi Tamasese and shot entirely in Samoan on location in Samoa itself. Saili’s story is one of love and challenges as he learns he must stand tall, despite his small stature, to become a hero. Highly recommended.

Discover More:

You can also watch Tamasese’s other feature film, One Thousand Ropes, on Kanopy.

Kuo Hina E Hiapo: The Mulberry is White and Ready for Harvest

Year: 2001
Length: 28 minutes
Directors: Joseph Ostraff, Melinda Ostraff

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

Tapa cloth is a true artistic treasure of the Pacific. In Tonga it is called ngatu and this short documentary illustrates  ngatu’s symbolic importance and collaborative production. Beautiful and fascinating!

Discover More:

Our Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwi/Pasefika popular topic page provides links to all sorts of Pasefika books and online resources.


Year: 1988
Length: 100 minutes
Director: Merata Mita

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

Merata Mita was the first Māori woman to write and direct a dramatic movie when she brought out Mauri in 1988. Set on the East Coast, Mauri stars Anzac Wallace (Utu) and activist Eva Rickard. This is a landmark film from a landmark Māori film maker.

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You can also watch Ngati on Kanopy, another ground-breaking  film from a Māori film maker, this time Barry Barclay.


Year: 2017
Length: 86 minutes
Directors: Ainsley Gardiner, Awanui Simich-Pene, Briar Grace Smith, Casey Kaa, Chelsea Winstanley, Katie Wolfe, Paula Whetu Jones, Renae Maihi

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

Eight female Māori directors give us eight connected stories, each taking place at the same moment in time during the tangi of a small boy called Waru. This is a very moving and challenging film with all eight stories  subtly linked while following different female characters. All must come to terms with Waru’s death and try to find a way forward within their community.

Discover More:

A tangi is at the heart of Waru. If you want to learn about Māori protocols surrounding tangi, or other Māori topics, our Māori Information Resources page is an excellent place to start.

The Rain of the Children

Year: 2008
Length: 102 minutes
Director: Vincent Ward

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

I love this film. Vincent Ward’s beautiful dramatic documentary explores the life of Tuhoe woman Puhi and her relationship to Rua Kenana and the community at Maungapohatu. Ward looks at the curse Puhi believed she lived under in an incredibly moving way, and the result is a jewel of a film.

Discover More:

You can also watch Vincent Ward’s first film about Puhi, In Spring One Plants Alone, on Kanopy.

The Deadlands

Year: 2013
Length: 107 minutes
Director: Toa Fraser

Watch the full film here on Beamafilm!

Woo hoo! Revenge and action abound in Toa Fraser’s movie starring James Rolleston and Lawrence Makoare. You gotta love the use of mau rākau – a traditional Māori martial art – and a script in te reo Māori!

Discover More:

If you want to start learning te reo Māori our recent Resources to Learn Māori blog can help with all sorts of tips to get you started.

The Pa Boys

Year: 2014
Length: 90 minutes
Director: Himiona Grace

Watch the full film here on Kanopy!

My whānau love this heartfelt film about a musician and his reggae band on a road trip of music and self discovery. Francis Kora is wonderful as Danny who is unsettled, and then opened up to his culture, when Tau (Matariki Whatarau) joins the band. Music, landscape, laughs and love – beautiful and simple.

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The band in The Pa Boys sets out from Wellington where Danny lives. If you love the music scene in Wellington you can learn more about it on our dedicated Wellington Music page.

Listen to some great music at the Positively Pasifika festival

pasifika festival
It’s a bumper weekend of events this Anniversary Weekend, and today sees the Positively Pasifika 2014 festival at Waitangi Park.

There’ll be traditional Pacific food, crafts, cultural groups and contemporary dance performances, film screenings, a dance and costume competition, children’s activities and even a hula class.  The event is being MC’d by The Laughing Samoans.

Of course there’ll be great music to listen to all day: if you’re keen to hear more of Bella Kotolo‘s or Rosita Vai’s music after hearing them, we have their CDs for you to borrow and of course Laughing Samoans‘ movies.

A full programme of the day and film screenings is available on the Wellington City Council website, or see the Festival’s Facebook page for updates.

Have a great weekend everyone!