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Leituaalalemalietoa Lynn Lolokini Pavihi was recognised in this years Kings Birthday honours.


Language & Culture

King's Birthday Honours: Vagahau Niue champion reflects on prestigious award

PMN host Leitualaalemalietoa Lynn Lolokini Pavihi was recognised in the 2024 royal awards for her service to the Niuean community.

Matt Manukuo
Matt Manukuo
11 June 2024, 3:32pm
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One of Niue’s language champions was recognised in this year’s King's Birthday Honours for nearly 20 years of dedication to Pacific education.

PMN Niue host Leituaalalemalietoa Lynn Lolokini Pavihi was one of eight recipients of Pacific heritage in the royal awards. Reflecting on the news, Pavihi remembers an email that caught her out.

“It came as a surprise!” she said. “I did not expect to receive anything as such.

“When I received the email I was like ‘hey, this can’t be right?’ I had to read the email three times just for me to comprehend it was actually from the Governor General's office.

“In the email it said it has to be confidential, and with our Pasifika people, what is confidentiality?” she chuckles.

Pavihi said during the confidential period, only a few loved ones learnt the news including her two children. She said keeping the news private was tricky.


“I wasn’t even able to tell my PMN Niue producer Faama or any of my colleagues because I wanted to adhere to the instructions!

“I did sit my two children down and explained that this was something very big and they were very proud.”

Watch the full interview on our 531PI Facebook page.

Pavihi has been a strong advocate for the revitalisation of Vagahau Niue, contributing in fields of education, health and community. She also helped establish the first ever bi-lingual unit for Vagahau Niue at Favona Primary School and published two children's books in the Vagahau.

Pavihi’s work has championed the small island nation and said the award is an acknowledgment for her village's support.

“To me it’s an acknowledgment of the work, the service, the many people, colleagues and groups I have served. But I have to say this acknowledgment is not my own. It’s a recognition of everyone, the whole collective, the village who have supported the work that I have done.

“And as a representative of Favona School it’s really humbling for our school to be the first bilingual unit in the world. Raising the Niue flag in our school.”

Pavihi has also championed learners of Vagahau Niue, running several language classes helping connect tagata Niue in Aotearoa to the language and culture.

Vagahau Niue is listed by UNESCO as an endangered language, and Pavihi said engagement from learners is at times hindered.

“I feel for our young Niue students [Vagahau Niue learners]. They [will] only go if they’re comfortable, or they won’t be judged. Some students have a fear, a fear of being mocked or laughed at for being unable to articulate Vagahau Niue words.

“So what I would like to continue to do is to keep encouraging our youth and young people that it’s ok. Being free of critical judgmental comments that come from our people.”

Pavihi with her two children.

Pavihi extended great gratitude to her loved ones for helping her serve the community.

“Most of the work I do is what my late father did, in his upbringing, the service. Tautua, tau gahua, haana ne gahua. Was really to serve our people. I think he would be so proud to know I am a recipient of a King's award.

“I also pay tribute to the many people who nurtured me, scaffolding me, it’s not my own work, it’s a whole collective. Thank you.”