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Tongan Language Week

Malo e lelei!! Tongan Language Week / Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga takes place this year from Sunday 3 September – Saturday 9 September

Tongan Language Week / Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e lea faka-Tonga provides an opportunity to celebrate through music, song, dance, food, crafts and language.on top of that it supports the curriculum principles of cultural diversity and inclusion, and provides an opportunity for students to:

  • demonstrate the vision of connection to a global community
  • explore the values of diversity, community, and respect
  • achieve learning outcomes described in the learning languages area
  • make use of key competencies, especially using language, symbols, and texts, and relating to others.

Tongan Language Week Theme

The theme for Tongan Language Week 2017 is, Nofo-'a-Kaainga: Enriching Aotearoa New Zealand with Tongan values of family. 

Last year, the theme was Fakakaloa Aotearoa 'aki 'a e faiva 'a e Tonga – Enriching Aotearoa with Tongan arts.

Tongan Language Week Events

There are a range of events taking place across New Zealand to promote the importance of Tongan language and culture to Aotearoa. These include church, school, and community events, library sessions, heritage art collections on display, launches, radio dialogue, and workplace gatherings.

Please contact the regional offices of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs if you would like a copy of the national calendar of events or e-versions of the two promotional language posters.

Celebrating Tongan Language Week in your school

Use the following questions as discussion starters with your class – "Why is it important for all New Zealanders to celebrate and learn lea faka-Tonga?" "What benefits will this bring to New Zealanders of Tongan descent?"

Investigate Tongan art - from Tapa cloth and traditional dance to contemporary printmaking, painting, music, and sculpture - discuss how the art of Tonga can enrich Aotearoa.  A variety of resources can be found at Arts Online.

Use the Tongan numbers system to teach place value.

Integrate lea faka-Tonga by using it for an art lesson, to teach a Tongan song, or to run a PE lesson.

Include these language games in your reading rotation or English lesson.

Adapt this ESOL resource to create a Tongan cultural village.

Ask students that identify as Tongan to run a special assembly. Include the New Zealand National Anthem in lea faka-Tonga.

Share your expertise with another school. Older students could mentor a Tongan cultural group, or teach younger students some basic language phrases.

With the help of the Tongan community, students can create a resource that can be used by teachers across the school during the year.

Run a lea faka-Tonga speech competition within your school cluster.

Ask a grandparent or parent to come and read to children in the classroom or in the library at lunchtime. Check your resource room for Lea Faka-Tonga titles in the Tupu series.

If students have lea faka-Tonga speakers at home, give them Lea Faka-Tonga books to take home in place of their normal reader.

Tongan Language Week Resources

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

Tongan language resources
These teaching and learning resources are designed to support the teaching and learning of lea faka-Tonga in New Zealand schools. They are aimed at all levels.

e-learning resources
This TKI site provides information and resources for Pasifika learners using digital technologies.

Basic lea faka-Tonga lessons
This site has seven lessons for beginner speakers of Tongan.

Lea faka-Tonga phrases
This website offers some common Tongan phrases, suitable for classroom use.

Tonga greetings - Tonga Language Week
This video, produced for Tonga Language Week in 2013, will help children listen to the correct pronunciation of words and phrases. 

ESL Readers: A Mysterious Meeting: teachers' resource [Tongan]
This digistore resource is designed to support classroom use of the animated story 'A Mysterious Meeting' and its associated language games. Remember that to use digistore you need to setup a password.

Effective teaching for Pasifika students – Language
This film shows the benefits of valuing and sharing the languages that Pasifika students bring with them into the classroom. 

NZ national anthem in Tongan

NZ_Anthem-website TONGA.jpg

Shakespeare in Tongan


In partnership with Village Collective, the Pasifika Education Centre have translated the timeless classic Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare.

For more information please visit the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs website.