Developing the next crop of cultural leaders
(Picture caption: Tongan youth experience Pukepuke 'o Tonga, a group trying to build the next generation of confident leaders who will uphold the Tongan culture, language and heritage in Aotearoa, New Zealand.)
Pukepuke 'o Tonga (POT) is on a mission to empower youth in the Tongan community and build the next generation of confident leaders who will uphold the Tongan culture, language and heritage in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Translating to “hold onto” or “to uphold” Tonga, POT is a platform that supports and showcases the Tongan community in New Zealand, within the Arts and Education sectors says POT Executive Producer ‘Asilika ‘Aholelei.
“We create a safe space where educators and practitioners are able to share learnt knowledge and lived experiences with the next generation,” ‘Asilika adds.
Earlier this year, Auckland-based POT successfully applied for round one of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Community Language Fund, to help support its objectives and goals.
‘Asilika says to keep any language alive it must be spoken and practiced regularly.
“We believe this starts from home but understanding resources are needed to fund this initiative, especially growing up in Aotearoa where the English language is dominantly spoken.
“The Community Languages Fund will help support this initiative to provide a space to facilitate workshops and create resources that will help us teach the language and document the process.
“Our aim is to create an environment that encourages learning and growth through creative exploration and fosters young performers who are passionate and confident to learn to speak in Tongan, sing in Tongan bringing our stories to life performing Tongan dance - 'ako faiva - lea faka-Tonga, hiva faka-Tonga, faiva faka-Tonga.”
Launched following the Languages Innovation Fund (LIF) pilot programme for community funding administered by MPP’s Languages Unit, the first round of the CLF received 143 applications over the eight weeks it was open.
This was more than double the number of applications received under LIF.
After the success of round one, a second and final round of applications are currently being accepted for the CLF.
This time it will provide even more support for Pacific grassroots community and family language projects, with the introduction of a second funding tier of $10,000, in addition to the $2,500 tier.
The fund has provided gratefully received financial assistance for POT’s initiative targeting the Tongan community in New Zealand.
“From all this, our hope is this generation of confident learners become masterful practitioners of the language one day, who will continue to teach the next generation and so forth.”
Community Languages Fund (CLF)
Our Pacific languages matter. They tell the story of who we are.
Applications for the second round of the Community Languages Fund are now open, until 12pm, October 28.
Visit MPP for more information and to apply.