Minister for Pacific People Aupito William Sio said this afternoon the Tongan community had to concentrate not just on formal education, but on learning to keep their community safe.
The theme of this week’s Tongan Language Week is Fakakoloa ‘o Aotearoa ‘aki ‘a e Ako Lelei, which means enriching Aotearoa with holistic education.
Hon. Sio, who is also the Member for Mangere, said young people should also feel comfortable learning their language, culture and geneaology.
Speaking from his backyard, the Minister said Language week was being launched online as a way of keeping the community safe from Covid-19.
He said the government would encourage Island communities to be vaccinated over the next four months.
He said this included children over 12.
The Minister emphasised that vaccination was safe and effective and urged people to become educated about the facts rather than being misled by misinformation.
He said vaccination and support was available to everybody, regardless of status. Nobody would be asked to provide ID or a passport.
The Minister was launching Tongan Language week, which will run until September 11.
The launch was preceded by a blessing from the Rev. Setaita Kinahoi Veikune.
Following the Minister’s speech, members of the community spoke online and presented musical and cultural items.
While this afternoon’s launch was a serious affair, an apparent mistake by the organisers of the Tongan Language Week caused amusement this morning.
The promotional banners and postings shared online included a static banner which mistranslated the English phrase Good Bye as ‘Alu ā (to those staying) while in fact, it should be ‘Alu ā to those leaving. They correctly translated Good-bye’s other meaning as Nofo ā, for those staying.
The Dr Maxwell Tongan-English dictionary translates Good-Bye as ‘Alu ā (to person going) and Nofo ā (to person remaining) which are also correct versions of English translations of the phrase.
The apparent mishap attracted some jests on social media with some saying this type of mistake should not come from organisers as a small mistake could cause a lot of confusion especially to the majority of Tongan children living in Auckland whose Tongan is not fluent.
Prof. Tevita ‘O Ka’ili of the Taulanga Tufungalea Facebook group (Tongan Words World) posted a correction to the group with a red line crossing the mistake and a written correction on top of the mistake.