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Tuesday, 23 April 2019 05:51 pm

Niueans share gift of culture

Apr 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Featured Article, Features, Student Features

mrs_mokaleimainA YEAR of running sausage sizzles at Harvey Norman in Wellington’s Tory St has finally come to an end for Niue ki Mua cultural group.

Matua (leaders) Jo Mokalei (pictured, right), Maria Solouota, Kevin Mokalei, Sala Solouota and their Wellington group are in Niue this week on a cultural exchange.

Mrs Mokalei says it has been a year of fundraising, emails, meetings, composing, dancing and changes.  “It’s exciting, we can see the sun rise!” 

Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch groups are all travelling together.

Niue people are in danger of losing their taoga (heritage), language, arts and crafts.  Cultural exchange visits by Niueans living offshore are one way to help.

It all began with former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who alerted the people to do something. 

“You are being swamped by the dominant culture,” she told a taoga fono (heritage meeting) in Niue in October 2004. 

The current Premier, Toke Talagi, and the former Premier Young Viviani, have been right behind moves to save the taoga. 

Mr Talagi says he is looking forward to meeting the groups and the exchange of cultures.

One of the supporters has been the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs. Dr Colin Tukuitoga, CEO, says Niue and New Zealand Niueans are working together to encourage the young Niueans living in New Zealand to learn both cultures.

Mrs Mokalei says Makefu village, where the Wellington group is staying, is excited as most of the group come from Makefu originally. 

The group has asked the villagers to hang bait for uga (coconut crab) as they’re keen to catch some.

Mrs Mokalei explains that the cultural exchange is one of many ways to keep knowledge alive: “It is your [younger people’s] turn to carry our taoga. Be strong! It’s a gift from God.”

And, after countless sausage sizzles for the cause, the group says Harvey Norman is now one of its matua.

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  1. Congratulations to the people who have worked so hard to make this trip happen. It’s vital for all the different Pacific cultures to keep their culture alive. There is a real danger of the global culture overtaking them. Thanks for highlighting this issue, Brenda

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