While celebrations on the rock of Niue are in full swing as the country marks 48 years of self-government in free association with New Zealand, the Niue community are playing their part to preserve Vagahau Niue language, their culture and traditions.
Vagahau Niue has been registered with UNESCO as an endangered language. Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William says, “ it is vital we preserve, sustain and maintain Vagahau Niue and its culture for many generations to come.”
This year’s theme is, Fakatūleva e Vagahau Niue mo e Tau Aga Fakamotu ma e Tau Atuhau – Sustain Niue Language and Culture for Future Generations.
During research consultation in preparation of the Pacific Languages Strategy, the Niue community expressed concern about the decline of Niue people who can speak or use Vagahau Niue, and identified more support in the education curriculum was needed.
As part of the Vagahau Niue language celebrations this week, the Waikato Pacific Business Network in Hamilton showed us how to prepare and cook a traditional Niuean umu and a chance for the community to sample Niue delicacies such as Takihi, Corn beef and taro leaves.
At the Mangere Town centre library, a special performance from Niue Mama’s showcased the songs of their homeland, meanwhile in the Bay, Brenda Talagi Cottingham opened her exhibition at Faulkner House, Historic Village in Tauranga to showcase from her private collection of Hiapo and pulou that are on display until today.
According to the 2018 Census, 30,867 Niue people live in New Zealand, and the population in Niue was 1,620. Vagahau Niue celebrations conclude Saturday 22 October.