Niue Language Week

Niue Language Week runs from Sunday 16 October and will end with Niue Constitution Day on Saturday 22 October.

The theme for this year’s Niue Language Week is ‘Ponataki, Tukutaula ke Mauokafua e Vagahau Niue’, which translates into ‘Bind, Anchor to Firmly Uphold the Vagahau Niue’.

Niueans in New Zealand

Statistics from the 2013 Census confirm the Niuean ethnic group comprises 23,883 people in New Zealand. Seventy seven percent of those live in Auckland, followed by communities in Wellington (nearly 7 percent) and the Waikato (4 percent).

Of those living in the Auckland Region, the majority usually lived in the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Area (18.4 percent), Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board Area ( nearly 14 percent), and Manurewa Local Board Area (11 percent).

Learning resource

This year the Ministry has worked with members of the Niue community to develop a free education resource, Ponataki, which will help connect people with the Niue language, culture and identity.  The resource includes contributions from Te Papa Tongarewa. 

Download the resource (PDF 1.4MB)

Calendar of events

The community are hosting a number of events to celebrate Niuean culture and language.

Download the calendar (Word 495KB)

Community poster

Members of the Niuean community have designed a poster to promote the Language Week. 

Download the poster (Jpeg 5MB)

Story behind the 2016 Niue Language Week Poster

  • The image of the island and sea is taken from the lookout on the Coast of Niue, Opaahi, Alofi South. The canoe and paddle belong to Taumafai Fuhinui.
  • The angle of the picture is focused towards the sea with the vaka (canoe) taking prominence.
  • The vaka is placed in a neutral position - so that it can either be leaving (symbolising migration) or returning (symbolising the homecoming of the current and future generation).
  • The vaka is chosen to symbolise the migration of many Niue people from Niue to New Zealand.
  • Niue words on the vaka symbolise that no matter where the Niue people have migrate to, they carry with them their language, culture and identity.
  • The majority of the Niue population is diverse and multi-ethnic. They are young and vibrant in their language, culture and identity wherever they are in the world.
  • The connection is the link between the old and new, the migrants and their offspring.
  • The hope was that the image would generate discussion about what the present day face of Niue is. The emphasis on the language being practised and used is valuable in the form of identity.
  • The vaka is also an image that is relevant to the Niue people who are still on the island. It represents a mode of transportation and used for fishing.
  • The vaka image also lends itself to the metaphor – “teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime” – the interpretation is ‘the man who teaches his family Vagahau Niue, sustains his language, culture and identity for the next generation’.
  • The vaka additionally represents the notion that in order for Niue people to survive on the water and in life, the language is not only the link to them keeping afloat in amongst the ocean but also in their identity as a Niue.
  • The choice to place it in the modern medium of Instagram makes the image recognisable and interactive with the next generation - our target audience in carrying on the Vagahau Niue, who are the product of the migration.

The social media hashtags for the week are #NiueLanguageWeek and #KoAuKoENiue.