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Lea Faka-Tonga

Tonga Language Week

Young person in Tongan dress with a frangipani flower in their long hair.

Mālō e lelei!     

Tonga Language Week runs from Sunday 3 September to Saturday 9 September 2023. 

Tonga Language Week / Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga is a great opportunity to acknowledge the lea faka-Tonga speakers in your classroom and wider school community.

Celebrating a language week like this raises the status of speakers of lea faka-Tonga in the eyes of other students and reinforces the advantages of bilingualism in the school community.

With a rich resource of language speakers at your disposal, it will be easy to find experts that can help your school to celebrate Tonga Language Week / Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga through language and the arts.

Lea faka-Tonga and the visual arts

Tonga has a real strength in both traditional and contemporary art, and there are many examples of it here in Aotearoa. From tattoo, to woven mats and tapa, traditional images and techniques from Tonga can be seen in contemporary art. Combine this with Tongan dance and music and there are many art contexts that you can use to explore language this Tonga Language Week / Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga.


Tagata Pasifika: Tongan Art
A group of contemporary Tongan artists talk to Tangata Pasifika about how their art represents their culture in a New Zealand context.

In finding out more about contemporary Tongan New Zealand artists, students can examine the influence language has on the work of the artist, and the influence art has on enriching New Zealand life. 


Pasifika Dance
Provides relevant learning experiences from Arts Online for looking at this year's language week theme.

Language resources

The New Zealand Curriculum Online nautilus logo

Tonga Language Week
NZC Online provides curriculum connections and ideas about how you, your class, and your school can get involved.


Ministry for Pacific Peoples

Resources for Tonga Language Week 2023
Downloadable resources from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.


Supporting Pacific learners | Resources
Online resources to use with students for Tonga Language Week.


Omniglot the online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages

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


Useful apps

These are some apps often used for ESOL learners. Flip your teaching and use them to teach some lea faka-Tonga language skills. Using these kinds of technologies enable children to connect their learning with parents and the wider school community – even a school in Tonga. Once the children are familiar with the apps themselves, invite some lea faka-Tonga speakers from the community, or your local secondary school lea faka-Tonga language class, to come and teach the children some language skills?

A chance to record language quickly and easily, especially when trying to learn conversational language.

Comic Life
A cartoon creation tool that provides learners with a lot of visual support.

Show me
A tool where you can draw on your screen while recording a narration. You can also load an iPhoto picture to draw and narrate over.

Book Creator for iPad
Create your own books on the iPad in an iBook format. You can also record yourself into the books. These can then be shared and uploaded to the web.

Turn your photos into a narrated slideshow.

Language learning

Digital dialects – Tongan
Online games to help with building vocabulary and learning the Tongan language.


Tongan for beginners
A series of seven lessons for beginners learning the Tongan language.


Lea faka-Tonga storybooks
Six storybooks, written to cover basic language topics and schools, with associated teacher support material.

Immigration story

Pasefika Proud – Our Families, our people, our responsibility.

Tongan Migration Story
Features Nimi Finau who migrated from Tonga in 1960. He recounts how he gained building qualifications, learned English, and helped family members move to New Zealand. He shares advice on how to succeed and help others succeed.


Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Story: Tongans
Provides an overview of Migration, Life in New Zealand, Culture, Pacific Islands identity, Facts and figures, and External links and sources.

Volcanic Eruption 2022

Radio New Zealand – Te reo irirangi o Aotearoa

Concern over impacts of volcanic eruption on agriculture in Tonga 8 May 2022
Read about concerns international agencies and businesses have regarding the long-term impacts of the recent volcanic eruption in Tonga.



Why Tonga’s volcanic eruption was so destructive 12 February 2022
Explores aspects of the eruption and its impact on Tongan people and islands.

Also has links to NOVA resources that can help students better understand the volcanology behind Tonga’s massive undersea eruption.



Why the Tongan eruption will go down in the history of volcanology 9 February 2022
The 15 January blast sent shock waves around the globe and defied scientific expectations. Researchers are now scrambling to work out why and what it means for future volcanic risks.