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Teaching and learning Gagana Tokelau

Talofa nī!

Welcome to the online environment developed to support the teaching of Gagana Tokelau.

Tokelau language week

Young person wearing a flax headdress and necklace, holding a fishing net.

Tokelau language week/Te vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau

Tokelau language

Gagana Tokelau is spoken on the atolls of Tokelau. The language is related to gagana Sāmoa and te gana Tuvalu. 

In his 2020 article Is Tokelauan facing extinction?, John Middleton says most speakers of gagana Tokelau live in New Zealand. That combined with rising sea levels points to a need to keep alive gagana Tokelau in Aotearoa New Zealand. 


Te Vāiaho o te Gagana Tokelau - Tokelau Language Week on Tāhūrangi 
This resource contains suggested activities and curated website links to help you and your learners learn about and celebrate the language of Tokelau.


Resources for Tokelau Language Week
Downloadable resources from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples


Supporting Pacific learners | Classroom teaching resources     

Online resources for Language Weeks for Tokelau language week.


Tokelau language activity book
Activity book, suitable for ages five to ten, that explores the language, islands, and culture of Tokelau.

Features crosswords, colouring-in pages, word searches, and a game. Visit the site to download a PDF of the book.



Matauala Cultural centre and hub logo

Tokelau dictionary 
The Matauala Cultural centre and hub website houses this digitised text.



Useful phrases in Tokelauan
A collection of useful phrases in Tokelauan from the online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages. The site also provides information about Tokelauan and numbers in Tokelauan.

Children's book

Watercress Tuna and the children of Champion Street 
Author Patricia Grace features four Pacific cultures (including Tokelau) in this story about a tuna that has a magic throat and gives gifts to children. 

An activity for New Zealand Curriculum levels 1-3 is included.

Tokelau history

The history of Tokelau tatau and tattooing (2013)
Te Papa's Senior Curator Pacific Cultures Sean Mallon describes tatau (tattooing) in Tokelau.


Artwork put little-known history of Tokelau slavery in front of Porirua people (Stuff article, 2021)
Ioana Gordon-Smith, Curator Maori Pacific at Pātaka Arts Museum and arts writer, explains the artwork, "Cry of the Stolen People", told the little-known history of Tokelau slavery.


Story: Tokelauans 
Learn about Tokelauan culture and customs, communities, and immigration from Te Ara Encylopedia of New Zealand.

At the library

Find out how libraries are supporting and celebrating Gagana Tokelau language week.

Vāiaho O Te Gagana Tokelau Tokelau Language Week – Education Resource 2016

Tokelau Language Week Education Resource 2016

Members of the Tokelauan community in New Zealand brought together ideas and developed this resource. Downloadable as a PDF. Although the resource is centred on the 2016 theme, it has useful and still relevant sections such as alphabet, helpful words, songs, and book recommendations.

Tokelau on Tagata Pasifika

Return to Tokelau

Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi was the first New Zealand MP of Tokelauan descent.

Anauli Karima Fai’ai follows Kris back to his parents’ homeland of Tokelau.

Join the journey. Watch the three-part series Tagata Pasifika produced. Aired 9 November 2018

Building a vaka

The art of the pa

The art of the pa features a family of pa carvers in Whangaparoa. The pa pendant, made from mother of pearl, is a symbol of identity for Tokelauans.

This episode was part of Tokelau language week 2013.