Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e lea faka-Tonga: Tonga Language week 2022

Tonga Language Week Poster. Tongan girl in traditional dress

Mālō e lelei!

We are excited to tell you this week is Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e lea faka-Tonga, Tonga Language Week, from Sunday 4th September to Saturday 10th September.

This year, the theme is Ke Tu’uloa ‘a e lea faka-Tönga ‘i Aotearoa, Sustaining the Tonga Language in Aotearoa.

A series of activities and events will be running for the whole week. To find out more click the button below:


About Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga has more than 170 islands! Some of the islands are the peaks of undersea volcanoes! Other Tongan islands are atolls, or islands in which coral reefs surround a shallow pool of water. Only 36 of the islands have people living on them.

The population in Tonga is around 100,000 people, 70% of whom reside on the main island, Tongatapu.

The islands are divided into three main groups: Tongatapu in the south, Ha‘apai in the center, and Vava‘u in the north. There are also isolated islands in the far north (the Niuas island group) and in the far south (‘Ata).

There are two official languages, Tonga and English.

The distance between New Zealand and Tonga is around 2,382km and it takes about three and a half hours to fly there.

At the 2018 census, 82,389 people living in Aotearoa NZ identified themselves as being part of the Tongan ethnic group.  Head over to Te Ara Encyclopedia to learn more about Tonga identities and cultural contributions in Aotearoa!

Basic Tonga Greetings

Mālō e lelei – Greetings / Hello

Mālō e lelei – Greetings Everyone

‘Okú ke fēfē hake? – How are you (singular)?

‘Oku ou sai pē, mālō – I am fine, thank you

New FREE Tonga Language Learning App 

Check out this new app ‘MA’AU: Learn through Bathtime’. You can learn Tonga, Gāgāna Sāmoa and Fijian languages. There are songs, quizzes and colouring!

Picture of tongan boy with soap bubbles and the word bathtime above

Learning Tongan Language through bathtime

If you want to learn more about them you can visit their website. https://maau.co.nz/

You can also read the book; Learning Tongan through bathtime.


Visit your local library and have a look at our amazing books to learn more about Tonga cultures and practice the language in the  Tonga collection for kids. All our branch libraries have children’s collections in Tonga language.

If you don’t have a library card, you can sign up for free!

Rise of the To’a / Tatafu, ‘Alisi
“Describes the culture behind the Tongan national rugby league team, Kau To’a, Mate Ma’a Tonga, MMT, and features profiles on each of the players. Also tells the fictional story of Toko, who overcomes his fears and grows in self confidence.” (Catalogue)


How Tonga got its name = Ko e founga hono ma’u ‘e Tonga ‘a hono hingoa / Riley, David
“Maui threw his line and hook into the ocean. He felt the hook catch onto something huge and heavy. “Wow, it’s beautiful!” Maui said. What amazing sight did Maui see in the ocean that day?” (Catalogue)


Fish for mufti day : a story from the Islands of Tonga / MacGregor, Jill
“To raise money for the Mufti Day donation Siokatame and his friends collect seafood and sell it to people in their village.” (Catalogue)
The Secret Cave by David RileyThe secret cave = Koe ‘ana fakapulipulí / Riley, David
“Naua was an expert fisherman who found an underwater cave. Naua had a feeling his cave would be helpful one day. And so it did. Find out what happened in The Secret Cave – Koe ‘Ana Fakapulupuli, a Tongan legend retold by David Riley”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Of Course You Can! Io Te' Ke Lava

Of course you can! = ‘Io te′ ke lava / Hinge, Karen
“Jeremy is starting at a new school. He’s not too sure about how he will fit in. But the other students make him welcome and every time he thinks he can’t do something they say … “Of course you can!” That is until the day they go to the swimming pool.”–Back cover” (Catalogue)

That’s a wrap! Let’s enjoy the Tonga Language Week 2022 together! Mālō ‘aupito.

Mālō e lelei! Tongan Language Week 2018

Mālō e lelei! Hello!

Here, in Aotearoa, it is Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga- Tongan Language Week.

It begins Sunday 2 September and finishes on Saturday 8 September 2018 but you can continue learning and celebrating Tongan Language all year round!

Take your time and enjoy the sights and sounds using ‘ihe laipeli – your library!


‘Oku ke lava ‘o lea faka-Tonga?’    ‘Do you speak Tongan?’

‘Ikai.’     ‘No.’

You could start by reading  Tongan for Kids by Jahri Jah Jah.







Bettina Ikenasio-Thorpe’s books will help with learning the alphabet, numbers and colours in Tongan. She has three awesome books: ‘Alafapeti : Tongan alphabet with English translationNgaahi lanu : colours in Tongan and English, and Lau ‘a e taha ki he hongofulu : counting one to ten in Tongan and English.


‘Oku ke lava ‘o lea faka-Tonga?’      ‘Do you speak Tongan?’

‘Oku ou lea faka-Tonga si’isi’i pē’    ‘I speak a little Tongan.’

These stories are written by Carolyn Collis with an English translation on the back cover.



‘Oku ke lava ‘o lea faka-Tonga?’      ‘Do you speak Tongan?’

‘ ‘Io.’      ‘Yes.’

Aiani and the Pia Ghost  is great for Tongan speakers. Give it a go!

The International Children’s Digital Library is a great place to find books and stories from different cultures all around the world.



Would you like to know more about the people of Tonga? David Riley’s Tongan Heroes is a good place to start and has great illustrations by Michael Mulipola.








And, lastly, here are some other amazing books about Tonga and Tongan stories…


Ko e Mali : ko e talanoa faka-Tonga mei Nuʻu Sila by Christine Nurminen

A story about a traditional Tongan wedding that takes place in New Zealand

The Mouse and the Octopus, by Lisala Halapua

Retells a traditional Tongan fable about a mischievous mouse, who is rescued by an octopus, but tricks his saviour. This represents the origins of traditional fishing lure design.




Kelea’s Clothes, by Jill MacGregor

Kelea, who lives in Tonga, describes some of the special clothes she wears for different occasions, including the ta’ovala and kiekie. Contains some Tongan words and glossary.





Monū’ia – Good Luck!