Loss of Vagahau Niue real concern

  • Hon Aupito William Sio

The people of Niue have reached a crossroads where the status of Vagahau Niue is considered vulnerable, and revitalising it, is essential for its survival, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.

“Vagahau Niue has been registered with UNESCO as an endangered language, so a challenge we face is the preservation of Vagahau Niue and Niue culture.

“It is vital we preserve, sustain and maintain Vagahau Niue and its culture for many generations to come,” said Aupito William Sio.

This year’s language week theme, Fakatūleva e Vagahau Niue mo e Tau Aga Fakamotu ma e Tau Atuhau, or in English, Sustain Niue Language and Culture for Future Generations, sums up the importance of preserving the language of Niue now.

According to the 2018 Census, 30,867 Niue people live in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the population in Niue was 1,620.

As a realm nation of Aotearoa, the New Zealand Government is committed to ensuring the wellbeing needs of the large Niue population residing in New Zealand are met.

“­During research consultation in preparation of the Pacific Languages Strategy, the Niue community expressed concern around the decline of Niue people who can speak or use Vagahau Niue, and identified more support in the education curriculum was needed.

“That’s why this Government invested $20m from Budget 2021 to support Pacific bilingual units, that include Niue as an NCEA subject. This is to develop a Pacific bilingual language education policy within the context of the Action Plan for Pacific Education.

“Meanwhile, young New Zealand-born Niueans told the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) that Vagahau Niue and Niue culture are avenues to stay connected with their parents and grandparents; these things provide a sense of identity.

“The loss of language is a very real worry for Niue people, so Niue leaders and community groups are working hard to explore, discuss and formulate strategies to ensure Vagahau Niue and the Niuean culture is protected and sustained for future generations.

“I want to assure our Pacific communities that we hear you. We hear the passion and commitment you have for our languages. We hear the call for better pathways in our education system that draw on our Pacific languages as keys to success. That’s why this Government launched the first ever Pacific Language Strategy to ensure Vagahau Niue thrives and flourishes,” Aupito William Sio said.

Kua lahi e tupetupe neke galo e vagahau Niue

Kua hohoko mai tuai e tau tagata Niue ke he mafega hala mo e kitia e tū hagahagakelea he Vagahau Niue, mo e kua lata ke lagaki hake fakalahi ke tumau e moui he vagahau, pihia e talahauaga he Ikipule Lilifu ko Aupito William Sio.

Kua fakakite mai he matakau UNESCO ko e Vagahau Niue kua tū hagahagakelea lahi, ti ko e mena ia kua lata ia tautolu ke kau fakalataha ke taofi e vagahau mo e tau aga fakamotu neke galo tukulagi.

“Kua lata ia tautolu ke leveki atu, lukuluku mo e pōnataki e Vagahau Niue mo e tau aga fakamotu ke lata ia mo e tau atuhau ne galo agaia”, he talahau e Aupito William Sio.

Ko e fakavēaga he faahi tapu Vagahau Niue he tau nai, ‘Fakatūleva e Vagahau Niue mo e Tau Aga Fakamotu ma e tau Atuhau.’ Pehē na e mahuiga ke leveki mo e lukuluku e vagahau ma e ha tautolu a tau atuhau.

Mai he totou puke tagata he tau 2018, kitia ki ai ko e 30,867 e tau tagata Niue ne nonofo i Aotearoa Niu Silani, mo e 1,620 ne nonofo ke he motu ko Niue.

Ha ko Niue ko e taha motu he kautū ha Aotearoa, ko e taha he tau gahua he fakatufono Niu Silani ke leveki atu ke he tau momoui he tau tagata Niue ne nonofo i Niu Silani.

Mai he tau fonoaga moe tau kumikumi ke lata ia moe Pacific Languages Strategy, kua tupetupe lahi e tau tagata Niue ha kua tō hifo fakahaga e numela he tau tagata ne maeke ke vagahau mo e fakaaoga e Vagahau Niue, mo e tau manako ke fai lagomatai mai he faahi fakaako tama.

“Ko e kakano haia ati foaki ai he fakatufono 20 e miliona tālā mai he fatifatiaga tupe 2021 ke lagomatai atu ke he tau aoga fakaako he tau vagahau Pasifika mo e tuku atu e Vagahau Niue ke he fakaakoaga NCEA. Ko e kakano foki ke tālaga e tau fakatokaaga ke lata ia mo e tau fakaakoaga ne fakaaoga ua e vagahau ke muitua atu ke he fakaholoaga Action Plan for Pacific Education.

“Kua fakakite mai he tau fanau fuata Niue ne fanau i Niue Silani ke he Ministry of Pacific Peoples mo e pehē kua eke ia e Vagahau Niue mo e tau aga fakamotu ke matūtaki atu a lautolu ke he ha lautolu a tau mamatua mo e tau tupuna; ko e tau mena na foki kua maeke ia lautolu ke iloa ha lautolu a omaiaga.

“Kua tupetupe lahi e tau tagata Niue neke galo e vagahau, ko e mena ia kua fitā e tau takitaki mo e tau matakau kehekehe he gahua auloa ke kumikumi falu a tau puhala, fakatūtala auloa mo e tālaga falu a lagatau ke leveki mo e lagaki hake e Vagahau Niue ma e tau atuhau tupuhake.

“Kua manako au ke iloa he tau motu oti he Pasifika, kua logona e mautolu ha mutolu a tau leo. Kua logona ha mutolu a tau loto manako mo e mokoina ke he ha mutolu a tau vagahau. Kua logona foki ha mutolu a tau manako ke fakaholo ki mua e tau fakaholoaga mai he faahi fakaako tama ha ko e tau monuina to moua mai he tau vagahau,” ha talahau mai e Aupito William Sio.

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