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​Tokelau language week runs from Sunday October 23rd till Saturday October 29th. Photo/Supplied​

​Tokelau language week runs from Sunday October 23rd till Saturday October 29th. Photo/Supplied​


Language & Culture

Website 'hub' aims to revive Tokelauan language

New website launched today to help revive Tokelau language and culture

A website​ aiming to be the "hub" of all things Tokelau by raising the profile of the Atafu Tokelau community​ in Wellington​ is being launched today.

President of the Atafu Tokelau Community group Les Atoni says the website will be the "go-to online resource" for reviving the language in New Zealand and overseas.

“Gagana Tokelau alongside Vangahau Niue and Cook Island Māori are the three languages in danger.

"It’s one of the tools we really want to use to ensure that we share our culture with the outside world but most importantly with our younger generation and non-speaking Tokelauan population here in New Zealand.”

Communications specialist Samson Samasoni believes the website will become the most comprehensive website on Tokelauan language, community and culture in the world.

“The resources are scattered through different websites all over the place. So we see this website is becoming a central hub.”


He says the launch is in its first stage but people can expect to find videos of cultural activities, dances, news, access and links to language resources, books and Tokelau dictionary. Samasoni hopes it would become an e-commerce site where people could buy cultural crafts, publications, t-shirts and designs.

The website captures the history of the Tokelau community since the 1970s.

Samasoni says the website’s components are developed for those with interest in Nga Atafu and Tokelau generally.

The website's launch coincides with Tokelau Language Week.

​This year's theme for Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau – Tokelau Language Week is "Halahala ki vavau, kae ke mau ki pale o Tokelau" which means "To plan for the future is to understand the past."

There are 8,767 Tagata Tokelau in New Zealand (Stats, 2018). However, only 23% of the Tokelau population in New Zealand speak the language.

According to UNESCO, the language is classified as severely endangered.