Language: English | Māori

Tuvalu Language Week 2023

The rich culture of the small Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu is being brought to life in Christchurch, as celebrations for Tuvalu Language Week take place in the city from 1-7 October.

Tagata Tuvalu Ōtautahi is the local organisation hosting the week’s events, and Chair Puava Fiamalua says festivities aim to bring the Tuvaluan community closer together.

“The language week theme is ‘Fakatumau kae fakaakoi tau ‘gana ke mautu a iloga o ‘ta tuā’ which means to preserve and embrace your language to safeguard our heritage identities,” says Puava.

“This aligns with our goal to strengthen the Tuvaluan culture by connecting with one another and sharing our language, traditional food, games, dance and stories, as a small but proud community.”

The week launched with a combined church service on Sunday and close to 60 people, young and old, joined celebrations at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre on Tuesday, to share the language week theme, showcase traditional ceremony, attire, arts and crafts.

Demonstrations of the game Te Ano and the Tuvaluan practice of gift-giving known as Te Alofa are also being shared. Towards the end of the week, young people will be given the opportunity to learn about customs associated with Fakaala (feast) and Fatele (traditional dance song) from the island of Vaitupu.

South Island funder Rātā Foundation is providing support under their ‘Participate’ funding area, to assist the removal of cost barriers to participation among the local community.

Chief Executive Leighton Evans says the organisation is proud to help bring people closer to their Tuvaluan heritage.

“Connection to culture is an essential part of building healthy, thriving communities and Tagata Tuvalu Ōtautahi is a local group actively removing barriers to promote strong relationships and encourage participation.

“It’s inspiring to see the colour and creativity of their Language Week celebrations, as they pass on knowledge and traditions that will enrich their community for generations to come.”

For more information about Tuvalu Language Week, visit the Ministry for Pacific Peoples website.