Learning a language can now be as easy as installing an app on your smart phone - textbooks are nowhere in sight.
An innovative new tool Fakaako e Vagahau Niue was recently launched in Aotearoa, to not only assist learners, but in efforts to sustain the Niue language.
Fakaako e Vagahau Niue is an interactive mobile application that can be downloaded to smart devices to access information and knowledge relating to Vagahau Niue.
Produced by Auckland-based cultural creative agency Kiwa Digital, and developed jointly by Vagahau Niue Trust and Takatakai Moana, the app was funded by the Ministry of Education's Pacific Education Innovation Fund.
Kiwa Digital works with indigenous organisations in Aotearoa and globally to sustain and revive heritage languages, and its Managing Director Steven Renata says this initiative is ground-breaking.
“For the first time, the Niue community and all those interested in the Niue culture, have an accessible interactive tool that recognises Vagahau Niue as key to their health and well-being,” Steven says.
The launch of the app comes at a critical time for the survival of Vagahau Niue.
There are fewer than 50,000 Niue people scattered across the globe and under 2,000 remaining on Niue Nukututaha.
This initiative recognises that Vagahau Niue is under threat because it is not being widely used and is not being passed on as gift to the next generation.
With that, the loss of language will lead inevitably to a loss of culture and identity.
Proud Niue-born New Zealander and Pacific leader Sir Collin Tukuitonga says he hopes learners of Vagahau Niue will find the app useful.
“The future of our language, our koloa uho is up to us - we need to use the language and we need to share it with our children.
“Let us not permit our vagahau to be lost.”
Fakaako e Vagahau Niue is designed to enable you to learn Vagahau Niue at your own pace, and in your own time, from anywhere in the world.
It includes information on the Niue alphabet, everyday conversations, family, parts of the body, numbers, colours, villages, the calendar, seasons, sports, health, time, values, proverbs, and places of work.
Also featured are pages including an interactive map showing villages and the singing of prayers and hymns.
To support effective learning, Fakaako e Vagahau Niue features synchronised narration in Niue language, tap to hear correct pronunciation of Niue words and the ability to record your own narration.
To download the app for your device, search Fakaako e Vagahau Niue on the App Store and Google Play.