Hamilton’s Fraser High School in New Zealand has allowed vala faka-Tonga as part of its school uniform.
The item was introduced this year in recognition of the school’s Pasifika students – 178 of them – and after much consultation with the school’s Pasifika community, Fairfax media reported.
This means the Fijian sulu, and ie faitaga in Samoa were also part of the offer.
The Pacific islands’ students are wearing the cultural uniforms everyday and not as a token gesture, Fraser High School Pasifika Dean Junior Si’ilata told Stuff.
The plan was to keep the item simple and inclusive as there were students who hailed from as far away as Kiribati, Tahiti and Hawaii, among others.
“It helps embrace who we are and our culture. We don’t like being labelled as Pasifika students, like, we’re normal students – but we’re just dressed differently,” senior student Viliami Vea said.
“It’s about being conscious and respectful of different cultures.”