It’s time for Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau | Tokelau language week 2023! Our theme this year is:
Ke Olatia ko ia Tokelau i tana Fakavae | Tokelau to Prosper Within its Foundation.
Tokelau Language and Culture
The nation is made up of the three atolls (ring-shaped coral islands) Nukunonu, Atafu, and Fakaofo, known as the Union Islands, until 1946 when Tokelau (north-wind) became the official name.
Tokelauans are New Zealand citizens. There are more than 8500 Tokelauan people in New Zealand today – five times the population of the islands themselves (about 1600)! We’re very lucky to have more Tokelauans in Wellington than anywhere else in the world, living and contributing a lot to our shared culture!
Part of David Riley’s beloved Pasifika Heroes series – Tokelau Heroes tells the inspirational stories of achievers who have Tokelauan ancestry. It includes legends like Hina; historical figures such as Ihaia Puka; and contemporary heroes like Opetaia Foa’i (Father of Olivia Foa’i mentioned above).
For more information about Tokelau, you may visit:
Sāmoa Language Week | Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa is celebrated this year from 28 May – 3rd June 2023. This is a chance for all New Zealanders to celebrate Sāmoa language, Sāmoan culture in New Zealand and around the world, and to promote the use of Sāmoan language in schools, at work and at home.
Did you know that nearly 4% of New Zealanders are Sāmoan? That’s almost 200,000 people! Gagana Sāmoa is the 3rd most spoken language in Aotearoa, New Zealand!
Being proud of your language is such an important part of feeling proud of your culture. This year’s theme for Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa is:
‘Mitamita i lau gagana, maua’a lou fa’asinomaga’ which means ‘Be proud of your language and grounded in your identity’.
When you feel proud and strong in your Sāmoan language and identity, it helps you feel good about yourself. How does this work? When you can speak your language, you will feel stronger in your identity as a Sāmoan. This gives you confidence in yourself and confidence helps you feel good. Don’t worry if you don’t know many words yet, try to practice the ones that you have everyday!
Did you know there is such a thing as ‘ancestral language’ ?
Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III in front of the Mau office in Vaimoso village, near Apia, 1929. by Alfred James Tattersall. Ref: PAColl-0691-2. Alexander Turnbull Library.
Sāmoan ancestral language included symbols, signs, environmental landmarks, events and gestures. These may be the same that the ancestors used hundreds of years ago. They are an important part of Sāmoan history, even though sometimes they can be intangible, which means things that maybe difficult to touch, or record. Be proud of your language that was created and grown by our ancestors.
The Sāmoan language is such an important part of our churches and is nurtured in church programmes and activities such as Sunday school, youth groups, choirs and church services. The church plays an important role in ensuring the Sāmoan language thrives, and that Sāmoan people are proud of their language.
You could meet Suliana Vea from the Alexander Turnbull Library!
To celebrate Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa your family can join Suliana Vea from the Alexander Turnbull Library and Ulu Afaese from Digital Pasifik to explore the Sāmoan collections held at the Library, on Thursday 1 June 2023, 5:45pm to 6:45pm! If don’t already know about these collections, they are awesome! You can also find out how you can contribute to the Digital Pasifik website. Why not ask your whanau if they will take you?
Pride in Gagana Sāmoa, Sāmoan language, begins in the home. The family is the first classroom for Sāmoans. We are first taught in our homes how to speak and show respect to elders and others. You learn how to invite people to eat, as well as know how to acknowledge gifts of food that people bring with them. Be proud of your family!
Be proud of your written language
As our world changes, Gagana Sāmoa also needs to adapt and change. Our written language is now becoming more valued in schools, workplaces, places of worship, and many other areas of our lives. It is a wonderful thing to learn how to read, understand, speak and write Gagana Sāmoa. Be proud of your written language and you can teach your friends! Come and have a look at our new Sāmoan books in the Library. There are more and more Sāmoan authors writing and publishing more books everyday! Maybe you could grow up to write your own!
Check out this super cool website Digital Pasifik which is taking the Sāmoan Language and culture in the future!
Get your younger brothers and sisters and listen to a storytime!
Here is a storytime in English and Gagana Sāmoa, How Do You Say ‘Thank You’? by Karamia Müller. Many thanks to the publisher Beatnik Publishing for allowing us to share this story!
Lewis Ioane made this video when he worked for Wellington City Libraries and now he works at the Porirua City Libraries!
This is an older cool blog from the National Library by Samuel Beyer, which has links to more resources.
You can also visit your local library and borrow some amazing books to learn more about Sāmoan culture, and practice the language. All our libraries have Sāmoan books but Te Whare Pukapuka o Omārōrō Newtown Library has the biggest collection! If you don’t have a library card- you can sign up for free. If you are worried about fines – just talk to the staff, they can help.
Author and Publisher Dahlia Malaeulu lives in Wellington and has written and published lots of Sāmoan books. You can read her blog about how Losi the Giant fisherman was shaped by her son Mase who has Autism.
Sāmoan heroes / Riley, David
“A collection of inspirational stories of achievers who have Sāmoan ancestry. It includes: contemporary heroes like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Troy Polamalu, Judge Ida Mālosi, Savage and Associate Professor Donna Adis; historical figures like Emma Coe, Tamasese, Salamāsina and Lauaki; legends like Sina, Tiʻitiʻi and Tigilau”–Back cover.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.
Fanene Peter Maivia : son of Sāmoa / Riley, David
“Fanene Peter Maivia – Son of Sāmoa is the remarkable story of the first Polynesian to become a star of professional wrestling. Fanene’s life began in Sāmoa and he took Sāmoa to the world. He was a pioneer who inspired some of the greatest wrestlers the world has known, including his own grandson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.
Brush up on your geography and history with…
Sāmoa / Aiono-Iosefa, Sarona
“Did you know that the English word ‘tattoo’ is supposedly derived from the Sāmoan word ‘tatau’? Find out about the traditional methods still used by Sāmoans to apply the amazing tattoos worn by many of the islands’ people today. In this book you will discover that an ‘ie toga is a beautiful and intricate fine mat, woven by Sāmoan women and used as highly prized gifts, which are made and given to celebrate important occasions. You can also study the climate, population, social structure and political history of the thirteen islands that make up the beautiful countries of American Sāmoa and independent Sāmoa (formerly Western Sāmoa).” (Catalogue).
Sāmoa & Tuvalu / Guile, Melanie
This book contains information about the history, culture and people of Sāmoa and nearby Tuvalu. A great book to have just in time for Sāmoan Language week. Learn some simple words and phrases
Tālofa lava: Hello (formal)
Mālō le soifua: Hello/Good health
‘O ā mai ‘oe? How are you? (to one person only)
Manuia fa‘afetai: Good, thank you
Manuia le aso: Have a great day
Tōfā soifua: Good bye (formal)
Faʻafetai lava ma ʻia manuia tele le Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa!
Thank you and have a very blessed Sāmoan Language Week
Pacific Language Weeks are about all New Zealanders learning more about Pacific people that make up a big part of our population and are some of our closest neighbours!
The overarching theme for the 2022 Pacific Language Weeks is sustainability. Cook Islands Language Week has been celebrated every year in Aotearoa since 2012, with events running this year from Sunday 31st July to Saturday 6th August.
This year’s theme is:
‘Ātuitui’ia au ki te Oneone o tōku ‘Ui Tupuna | Connect me to the soil of my ancestors.
Help us celebrate this special time for the community by learning more about the unique culture, language and history of the Cook Islands through the information, books, and other resources below!
Where are the Cook Islands?
They are located in the South Pacific neighbouring Sāmoa, Niuē and French Polynesia. There are 15 islands altogether with a total land area of 240 square kilometres.
How many people speak Cook Islands Māori, and where do they live?
Te Reo Māori Kūki ʻĀirani (Cook Islands Māori) refers to several dialects (slightly different versions of the same language) spoken in the Cook Islands, with the most common language dialect being spoken in Rarotonga. In New Zealand, about 80,500 people are Cook Islanders, or of Cook Islands descent. Peoples of Cook Islands descent make up a significant portion of Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) and Aotearoa’s Pasifika population, with significant numbers living in our Northern suburbs and nearby Porirua. (Source: 2018 Census)
Why are they called the Cook Islands?
The area was first settled around 1000CE by Polynesian people who probably came from Tahiti, which is where the famous navigator Tupaia would come from over 700 years later. You can learn more about Tupaia here: Tupaia | Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. They gave the islands names like Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Rakahanga.
The first European contact with the islands took place in 1595, but the Cook Islands name comes from the British navigator Captain James Cook, who arrived first in 1773 and again in 1777. Strangely enough, the name ‘Cook Islands’ first appeared on a Russian map in the 1820s.
There is still a lot of debate today about whether the Cook Islands should take a new name that reflects the Polynesian history and heritage of the area. Visit Britannica Online to learn more about the history and people of the Cook Islands: Cook Islands | Encyclopaedia Britannica
Visit your local library and have a look at our amazing books to learn more about Cook Islands cultures and practice the language. At Newtown Library we also stock the Cook Islands News.
If you don’t have a library card, you can sign up for free!
Cook Islands heroes / Riley, David
“Cook Islands Heroes tells the inspirational stories of achievers who have Cook Islands ancestry. It includes legends like Ina, Maui, Ngaru and Ru; historical figures such as […] Alistair Te Ariki Campbell; and contemporary heroes Kevin Iro […] The book is written to inspire young Cook Islanders, to encourage reading and promote literacy.” (Publisher description)
‘Ei for the day / MacGregor, Jill
“Yvette and Kiikii wear an ‘ei and an ‘ei katu when their dance group performs at the Saturday Morning Market in Rarotonga.” (Catalogue)
Also, visit this link to find even more children’s books in Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani at your local library.
This is a good time to learn some Te Reo Māori Kūki ʻĀirani. Here are some useful phrases to help get started. Pronunciation is mostly similar to Te Reo Māori – so don’t be shy, give it a go!
Kia orāna – Greetings/Hello ʻAere rā / ʻĒ noʻo rā – Goodbye (to those going/to those staying) ʻInē? – Please Meitaki maʻata – Thank you very much Tatarāʻara – Sorry Inā ake ana – Excuse me Pēʻea koe/kōrua/kōtou? – How are you? Meitaki maʻata au/māua/mātou – I am/We are well
There are lots of cool things happening across the country to celebrate this time. For more information on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit these websites:
New Zealand is the only country in the world where the languages and culture of our Pasifika cousins are celebrated. Fäeag Rotuạm, the Rotuman language, is the first of nine Pasifika language weeks this year, and it runs from the 8th May – 14th May 2022. Rotuma Day itself was on the 6th of May.
Where is Rotuma you ask? The main island of Rotuma is about 13km by 4km and is about 580km from Fiji’s capital, Suva. Rotuma is a dependency of Fiji, so Rotumans will usually speak Fijian and English too! There are about 2000 Rotumans living on the island, and 10,000 living in mainland Fiji and globally.
This year’s theme for Gasav Ne Fäeag Rotuạm Ta is:
Vetḁkia ‘os Fäega ma Ag fak hanua – Sustaining our Language and Culture.
In these times, when it sometimes feels like things are just moving too fast, we think this is a wonderful idea to reflect on.
So how do you speak Rotuman?
Well, Rotumans roll their ‘R’s and pronounce ‘G’ with a smooth ‘ing’ sound, similar to how ‘ng’ is pronounced in te reo Māori.
Here are some key phrases in Rotuman [Row-too-man]:
• Noa’ia [Noah-e-yah]= Hello, greetings.
• Ka ‘äe tapen? [Car eh tar-pen] = How are you?
• Gou lelei fḁiåksia [Ngou leh-lay for-yak-see-yah] = I am well thank you.
• Figalelei [Fee-nga-leh-lay] = Please
• Fḁiåksia [Foyak-see-yah] = Thank you
• Hanis ma röt’åk [Hah-niece mah röt-ack] = Sorry
• La’ ma ḁlalum [Lah mah aw-lah-loom] = Goodbye (only to those leaving)
• Fu’ ma ḁlalum [Foo mah aw-lah-loom] = Goodbye (only to those staying)
Find more words and phrases in this language guide produced by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.
Tālofa Lava! Samoa Language Week will be celebrated this year from Sunday, 30 May 2021 until Saturday, 5th June 2021. The event aims to raise awareness of the Samoan language, celebrate Samoan culture in New Zealand and around the world, and promote the use of Samoan language in schools, at work and at home.
This year’s theme is “Poupou le lotoifale. Ola manuia le anofale” which means “Strengthen the posts of your house, for all to thrive”.
For more information on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the following websites:
“Contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Samoan sentences to aid comprehension. Word lists include parts of the body, telling the time, colours, numbers, days of the week and months of the year” (Catalogue)
“The Samoan Picture Dictionary is an excellent resource for people beginning to speak or write Samoan. It contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Samoan sentences to aid comprehension. Wordlists include parts of the body, telling the time, colours, numbers, days of the week and months of the year.” (Catalogue)
“These bilingual books are ideal for beginning learners of Samoan, with simple language and stories, and illustrations that support the text. Each book has a glossary that gives a clear English translation of the Samoan text. All of the books have been translated into Samoan by Ainslie Chu Ling So’o who is a language consultant specialist at the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture in Samoa.” (Catalogue)
Search the catalogue here for other books to brush up your Samoan language skills.
“A collection of inspirational stories of achievers who have Samoan ancestry. It includes: contemporary heroes like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Troy Polamalu, Judge Ida Mālosi, Savage and Associate Professor Donna Adis; historical figures like Emma Coe, Tamasese, Salamāsina and Lauaki; legends like Sina, Tiʻitiʻi and Tigilau.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
Fanene Peter Maivia : son of Samoa.
“Fanene Peter Maivia – Son of Samoa is the remarkable story of the first Polynesian to become a star of professional wrestling. Fanene’s life began in Samoa and he took Samoa to the world. He was a pioneer who inspired some of the greatest wrestlers the world has known, including his own grandson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
“Did you know that the English word ‘tattoo’ is supposedly derived from the Samoan word ‘tatau’? Find out about the traditional methods still used by Samoans to apply the amazing tattoos worn by many of the islands’ people today. In this book you will discover that an ‘ie toga is a beautiful and intricate fine mat, woven by Samoan women and used as highly prized gifts, which are made and given to celebrate important occasions. You can also study the climate, population, social structure and political history of the thirteen islands that make up the beautiful countries of American Samoa and independent Samoa (formerly Western Samoa).” (Catalogue).
“Celebrate Samoan language week and get into the Polynesian spirit by watching Disney’s Moana! The film follows the journey of a spirited teenager named Moana as she meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui, and together they traverse the open ocean, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds.” (Catalogue)
“Moana is the 56th animated feature from Disney, an ocean adventure about a teenaged girl from a tribal community on a mystical island in the South Pacific. Its soundtrack offers both 45 minutes of score and a set of original songs co-written by a trio of musicians with impressive pedigrees. Highlights include “We Know the Way,” sung by Miranda and Foa’i, and the soaring “How Far I’ll Go,” delivered by Auli’i Carvalho in the title role, with a second version by Canadian pop singer Alessia Cara. Among other names appearing on the soundtrack are Dwayne Johnson, who sings “You’re Welcome” as Maui, and Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, who sings “Shiny” as the menacing crab Tamatoa. Closing out the song portion of the album and bringing listeners back to contemporary reality are Jordan Fisher and a rapping Miranda in a reprise of “You’re Welcome.” ~ Marcy Donelson.” (Catalogue).
Also check out these YouTube clips from the movie soundtrack: “How far I’ll go” and “You’re Welcome!”
Tālofa Lava! Samoa Language Week will be celebrated this year from Sunday, 24 May 2020 until Saturday, 30 May 2020. The event aims to raise awareness of the Samoan language, celebrate Samoan culture in New Zealand and around the world, and promote the use of Samoan language in schools, at work and at home. This year’s theme is “Tapena sou ōso mo lau malaga” — “Prepare yourself a gift for your travels”.
For more information, on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the following websites:
“Contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Samoan sentences to aid comprehension. Word lists include parts of the body, telling the time, colours, numbers, days of the week and months of the year”–Publisher information.
The Samoan Picture Dictionary is an excellent resource for people beginning to speak or write Samoan. It contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Sāmoan sentences to aid comprehension.
To find out more about the people and the place, dive into these:
The rat and the octopus, by Jill MacGregor. Pita, who lives in the village of Tuapa on the island of Niue, describes how to catch an octopus with a lure shaped like a rat. Includes some Niuean words and a glossary.
The uga hunt, by Jill MacGregor. Arfa, who lives in Niue, describes how he and his father hunt for huge coconut crabs called uga.
Show day, by Jill MacGregor. Livisia, who lives in the village of Alofi South on the island of Niue, describes how her village hosts Show Day, a day of celebrations for the whole island. Includes some Niuean words and a glossary. In picture book format.
Did you know that Samoan is one of the most commonly spoken languages in New Zealand? In fact, we have over 12,000 Samoan language speakers in Wellington!
Samoan Language Week starts on Sunday 29 May and runs through to Saturday 4 June. It was first celebrated in 2007, and the event aims to raise awareness of the Samoan language, celebrate Samoan culture in New Zealand and around the world, and promote the use of Samoan language in schools, at work and at home. This years’ theme is “E felelei manu ae ma’au i o latou ofaga – Birds migrate to environments where they survive and thrive”.
If you want to find out more about Samoa, or learn Samoan, we have some great resources to help you get started!
Head over to the online catalogue and start searching today (and don’t forget, if you need to reserve an item from another library, reserves are FREE on all children’s cards).