In 2003, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs Ala Fou report showed that Pacific youth identified the need to learn the languages of their parents and grandparents, to be able to strengthen their sense of identity.
The figures from the 2001 census show that the number of New Zealand-born Tokelauans who could hold an everyday conversation in their mother tongue was only 30 percent. Statistics New Zealand data indicate a decreasing trend over the last few years and has highlighted the possibility that without revitalisation, this language is at risk of becoming extinct.
The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs has taken a step forward in an attempt to save the Tokelauan language from becoming lost to Tokelauans. Tokelauans like other Pacific people came to New Zealand to seek a better life, bring with them their energy, language, culture and traditions. One of the challenges they now face is the preservation of their language.
This new resource called Tau Gagana Tokelau was developed by the Tokelau community in
collaboration with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, to support the retention and revitalisation
of their language.
Current funding contributes to developing a Tokelau resource, and contracts have been formalised with the Tokelau Executive Board to allow a new group of learners from this community to undertake the programme.
Mind Your Language targets Tokelauans who are not necessarily trained teachers, but who can speak the language and are able to teach others in their families and communities who want to learn at an elementary level. The expectation is that those who learn at this level will move on to more formal language tuition.
The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs is committed to the preservation of Pacific People\u2019s heritage
languages. I know that this resource will raise language skills, confidence levels, fluency and
understanding, hence contributing to the strengthening of cultural identity amongst a growing New
Zealand born-Tokelauan population.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?