Pacific Music Awards Recognized Queen Sālote of Tonga

Last month Tonga’s late Queen Sālote Tupou lll was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) Pacific Music Awards in Auckland, New Zealand. The award will be posthumously presented at the 15th awards ceremony. Queen Sālote has been described as a gifted composer who composed over 100 songs, lullabies, laments and dances.

The Pacific Music Awards Trust said it acknowledged Queen Sālote’s huge contribution to the preservation and creative use of the Tongan language and recognized her as a celebrated writer of poetry and song. The Trust said her compositions continue to inspire a new generation today.

MIT Pasifika Academic Partner, Edmond Fehoko is a proud Tongan and has enjoyed Queen Salote’s music throughout his life. “What I enjoy most about Queen Salote is how in-depth her lyrics are. She used a level of language that is not common today and we have begun attempts to bring that back. I am also amazed at the journey she went through from earlier tragedies in her life to the regal celebrations of her successful reign,” he said.

There was a special collaboration tribute to the late Queen during awards night. Queen Sālote’s grandchild, Princess ‘Ofeina ‘e he Langi Fakafānua accepted the award on her behalf. “She possessed unrivalled knowledge of genealogies, traditions of Tongan customs and a strong sense of duty and love for her people of Tonga, which also meant strong connections and responsibilities to the South Pacific region, Princess ‘Ofeina said.

Today, many Tongan performing groups, string bands and Kava circles still continue to celebrate Queen Salote’s compositions and last year’s ASB Polyfest was dedicated to showcasing works only from Her Majesty’s collection. Princess ‘Ofeina said, “Her compositions of Tongan music continue to inspire a new generation, now aware of our rich past and to our shared futures.”


Image from

A little about Queen Sālote…

Princess Sālote was born on 13 March 1900 in Tonga as the only child of King George Tupou II of Tonga and his second wife, Queen Lavinia. Queen Lavinia died of tuberculosis on 25 April 1902. Her father was urged to remarry in order to father a male heir, and he finally did so on 11 November 1909. He married 16-year-old Anaseini Takipō and together they had two daughters, one who died of convulsions at the age of six months and one who died of tubercular peritonitis at the age of 20.

At the age of 9, she was sent to live in Auckland in New Zealand for her education. She stayed for five years and only returned to Tonga for the Christmas holidays. It wasn’t until 1914 she was considered the heir as by now the hopes of the Queen producing a male heir were low. She married Viliami Tungī Mailefihi on 19 September 1917, and they had three children together, including the future King Tāufa‘āhau Tupou IV. She also suffered three miscarriages. His high status (he was the heir presumptive before Sālote’s birth) made the match very popular.

She succeeded her father as Queen on 5 April 1918, just barely 18 years old. Her coronation took place on 11 October of the same year. Her husband served as her prime minister from 1923 until his death in 1941. Sālote attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 in her first and only visit to Europe.

Sālote died on 16 December 1965 after a long illness. She was succeeded by her son as King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV. She was buried at Mala‘e Kula, the royal burial grounds in Tonga.

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Standardizing the National Language in Tokelau

Tokelau’s government is looking at standardizing its national language.

The changes, which were put forward at its parliamentary meeting this month, are in response to a different alphabet used in New Zealand.

Tokelau’s ulu, or leader, Kelihiano Kalolo, said there had been difficulties trying to coordinate meetings because of the language differences. “Language is very, very important for us, that’s how we express ourselves as Tokelauans. We are thinking of the future of our children who will grow up, they must grow up with … a common approach rather than having different versions.”

Kelihiano Kalolo said a working group will be tasked with establishing a new language policy.


Where is Tokelau?

A little about Tokelau…

Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand consisting of three coral atolls in the South Pacific: Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. These atolls lie approximately mid-way between Hawaii and New Zealand and about 500 km north of Samoa. The islands are low-lying and range from 8 to 15 feet (2.4 to 4.5 metres) above sea level.

Tokelau has no harbors or ports nor does it have an airport. The best way for tourists and travelers to get to Tokelau is from Apia, Samoa, by ship, which runs every two weeks..

Formerly known as the Union Islands, the name ‘Tokelau Islands’ was adopted in 1946 and then shortened to ‘Tokelau’ in 1976. ‘Tokelau’ is Polynesian for ‘North Wind’. The people are Polynesian and are culturally and linguistically linked to Samoa. Tokelauan, a Polynesian language, is the official language, but English is widely used.

According to archaeological evidence, the islands were settled about 1000 years ago. Several hundred years of oral history remain, showing a belief in Polynesian mythology and the worship of the god Tui Tokelau.

Tokelauan society was ruled by clans. Each atoll was independent until the 18th century, when Fakaofo conquered Atafu and Nukunonu and united the three atolls. Inhabitants lived a subsistence lifestyle, relying on fish and coconuts for sustenance.

The first European visitor, in 1765, was the British commodore John Byron, who gave Atafu the name Duke of York Island. Nukunonu was sighted and named Duke of Clarence Island by Capt. Edward Edwards of HMS Pandora in 1791, while he was searching for the HMS Bounty mutineers. French-sponsored Samoan missionaries converted Nukunonu’s people to Roman Catholicism from the mid-1840s, and Samoan missionaries sponsored by the London Missionary Society reached Atafu in 1858; both groups later Christianized Fakaofo.

In 1889, the islands were claimed by Britain. They became part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands (Kiribati and Tuvalu) in 1916, which was then renamed the Union Group. In 1925, the islands came under the administration of New Zealand. They became a New Zealand territory in 1948. In 1976 the group was officially named Tokelau. Although Tokelau is still a territory of New Zealand, Tokelauans have developed institutions and patterns of self-government. Today, more Tokelauans live outside Tokelau than on the islands. About 6,800 live in New Zealand.


Flag of Tokelau

The Tokelauan Flag…

Tokelau’s Flag depicts a Tokelauan canoe sailing towards the manu (Southern Cross).  The canoe symbolizes Tokelau’s journey towards finding the best governance structure for its people; the Southern Cross symbolizes a navigational aid for the journey.  The Southern Cross has helped Tokelauan fishermen navigate the waters around Tokelau for centuries while they have fished to sustain families and villages with its riches.

The white stars of the Southern Cross are a symbol of Christianity, an important part of everyday life in Tokelau.  White also signifies the cooperation and unity among the atolls of Tokelau and a shared aspiration to secure a better life for Tokelauans.  Yellow signifies a happy, peaceful community.  Blue signifies the ocean on which Tokelauans depend for their livelihood and is also the color of the sky which holds the stars that direct Tokelau’s people.

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Malekula to Host 4th National Arts Festival

The Vanuatu Daily Post recently reported that Chairman of the National Arts Festival, Chief Owen Rion Lapuenmal of Litzlitz Village, has called on the people of Malekula, Vanuatu, to wake up to the reality that they are going to host the National Arts Festival for a week in August.

The Festival will be hosted at Wilkin’s Stadium at Lakatoro.

Looking ahead the Chairman urges the young people of Malekula to capitalize on the event to learn their customs again which have stopped being used after the chiefs that practiced them died.

Chief Papuenmal reminds the people of Malekula that throughout the centuries, Malekula has always been the highly cultural back bone of the islands and it is important that the generation of today uphold the image.

“We the people of Malekula are pleased with the theme to preserve and promote our customs to live again, I wish to invite the people of Malekula to attend the event with their families to help their children to learn the tamtam beats, sing the songs and dance the dances”, he says.

“And to all tour operation companies, my message to the tourists who want to visit Vanuatu to attend the Festival, that they are ‘most welcome’!”


Where is Malekula, Vanuatu? Map from

Daily Post writer, Terence Malapa, wrote that preparations for the 4th National Arts Festival (NAF) are progressing well. The NAF is a celebration of Vanuatu’s unique and diverse cultural heritage. It has been held three times since its initiation in 1979 when the first festival was held in Port Vila.

So far, it has been hosted in Santo in 1991 and in Port Vila again in 2009 when chiefs of Malekula took the ‘stick faea’ to host the 4th Arts Festival. Preliminary talks commenced in 2018, when the Director of the VanuatuCultural Centre (VCC), Richard Shing visited Malekula on Malampa Day and informed them of the plan to have the festival in 2019.

A recent visit to Malekula on the 18th of March 2019 by VCC Director Richard Shing, members of the NAF Steering committee, the assistant events coordinator and some members of the sub committees advanced the preparations. They met with the Malampa Provincial Government and the Malmetenvanu Council of Chiefs, and established counterpart committees who would work with those in Port Vila to help with the Festival logistics. The meeting with the Malmetenvanu Council of Chiefs was purposely to seek their blessing and support for the national festival.

Vanuatu is considered one of the most diverse cultural nations in the world with more than 130 languages but with a population that is lower than 300,000.

The festival looks at trying to promote this cultural diversity by bringing different cultures from across Vanuatu to participate for one week, sharing traditional knowledge and skills and highlighting different aspects of culture including weaving, custom dances, ceremonies, traditional food preparation/preservation/production, oral traditions and so forth to encourage the transfer of this knowledge to the younger generation in order to preserve the rich cultural heritage that Vanuatu has.

“The 4th National Arts Festival is an event where cultural institutions and relevant stakeholders combine efforts to promote Vanuatu’s rich and diverse cultural heritage,” Director Shing said.

“It is an event where traditional cultural practitioners throughout Vanuatu can showcase important traditional knowledge that have sustained and maintained livelihood for many millennia, and in line with the theme of “Holem Taet, Praktisim mo Promotem Kastom Save”.

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International Archives Week 2019



In the past we celebrated International Archives on a single day, which was June 9. This year we are celebrating International Archives for an entire week, June 3-9, 2019! Below is a message from the International Council on Archives (ICA) President, David Fricker. Don’t forget to check-out the international map, blog and social media platforms. There’s a lot going on!

Our opportunity to collect our ideas, concerns and our achievements as Archives and Archivists and share it with the world.  If we all get engaged and speak up together, we can shine a light on our work and our value to the world, promoting the importance of Archives but also developing a broader appreciation by everybody of the documentary heritage of humanity and why it matters during these times of rapid social change.

This year’s theme – “Designing the Archives in the 21st Century” gives us the chance to showcase our many innovative and visionary activities; reminding the public that Archivists are not fixated on the past, but instead we are constantly inventing ways to carry the accumulated memory of humanity into the future.

So get involved!  The world needs to hear our news and be inspired by the treasures in our collections and our vision to make them accessible in new and engaging ways.  I encourage all of us in the ICA family to follow the events on the International Map – and importantly publish your own events –  to share your insights and wisdom on how we’re “Designing the Archives in the 21st Century” and write an article on the ICAblog

We can also spread the word (and pictures) on your social media platform of choice with #IAW2019.

How to plan a successful IAW 2019 step by step :

  • Download and personalize the IAW 2019 Communication Kit which includes Poster, Bookmark and Postcard
  • Publish your events on the 2019 IAW interactive map
  • Post on Facebook your #IAW2019   message or photos (don’t forget to geolocate) and your post will be published on the IAW 2019 Facebook #IAW2019 Map

Happy International Archives Week!


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Big, big News- Two Films About Pukapuka

A couple of days ago I received an update about the upcoming documentary film, Homecoming, which tells the story of the atoll of Pukapuka through the intergenerational story of two bi-cultural women Johnny Frisbie and Amelia Borofsky who journey home after decades away.

Director, Gemma Cubero del Barrio, posted the update that I’m dying to share…

Writing you with a BIG SURPRISE!! Thanks to your support in 2015 and the funding we received in 2017 from the United Nation’s Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program, Cook Islands, youʻll enjoy not one but two films about Pukapuka! This 14-minute forthcoming short documentary Our Atoll Speaks (KO TALATALA MAI TŌ MĀTOU WENUA) is a meditation on climate change and the indigenous knowledge.  Everyone in Pukapuka/Nassau contributed to this communal film project.

Take a look at the trailer! Also, visit our Talcual Films page to learn more. The voice you hear is beautiful Johnny’s Frisbie and the film narration came from interviews with people in Pukapuka/Nassau from 2015 to 2017.

Our Atoll Speaks will premiere in Aotearoa/New Zealand on June 1st, 2019 at Wairoa Maori Film Festival within the Moana Nui Kiwa shorts film category! Check the Wairoa Maori Film Festival schedule and join us if you can! Gemma will attend.

Also the day before the premiere the Kau Wo Wolo ( Council of Important People) will do a public screening in Pukapuka so everyone can watch and see their name listed in the ending credits before it goes out into the world.

Our Atoll Speaks  will be freely available on the website after it premieres at festivals and shows on Cook Islands television. We will announce when you can see the full short documentary online. Email us at if you have any questions.

Don’t forget to check-out two books published by Dockside Sailing Press about the Frisbie family:

Mr. Moonlight of the South Seas

Miss Ulysses from Puka-Puka

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Niue’s Biennial Arts and Culture Festival 2019

One of the organizers of last month’s Niue Arts and Culture festival said there was a lot of emphasis on the language at the event. The week-long Taoga Festival, in its sixth year, was well attended by locals and visitors from overseas.

Organizer, Glen Jackson, said one of the highlights of the biennial event was a discussion on the local language, which academics have warned is at risk of becoming extinct. He said one of its roles is to promote the language, which was reflected in the name change to ‘Taoga Festival’.

“We cannot be naive to the little place that we live in, in this beautiful little bubble in the middle of nowhere, that we have to be very careful about our language and to make sure it was emphasized through this festival,” Glen Jackson said.


Glen Jackson also expressed that they are already thinking about how they can take the festival forward in the future. “We’re looking at setting up what we can do to make sure the next 10 years of the festival is great so we’re collecting data, we have a website that we get registrations. So in regards to people coming through this is the opportunity that we like to kick start collecting data for that reason,” he said.

The Taoga Festival is designed to celebrate Niuean culture and traditions and reconnect families and friends with the motu. The Festival is open and inclusive of all forms of expression. This year the festival was officially opened by the Minister for Social Services and Taoga Niue Honorable Billy Talagi who highlighted the significance of preserving the Vagahau Niue, adding the festival is  an integral part of Taoga Niue. Mr. Talagi also encouraged the visiting artists to perfect their craft and to bring their talent back home.

The festival opened with an inspiring performance by Tukuola Group and sweet melodies from Tamatoa’s Tafiti Savages. It showcased Niuean Traditional and Contemporary activities including music, dance, theater, art, song-writing, sculpture, textiles including wearable arts, printing, film, writing, carving, and weaving.

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Who Owns Aloha?

Last month an interesting article appeared in the Samoa News about how the state of Hawaii is keeping an eye on protecting its native culture.

Last year, much of Hawaii was shocked to learn a Chicago restaurant chain owner had trademarked the name “Aloha Poke” and wrote to cubed fish shops around the country demanding that they stop using the Hawaiian language moniker for their own eateries. The cease-and-desist letters targeted a downtown Honolulu restaurant and a Native Hawaiian-operated restaurant in Anchorage, among others.

Now, Hawaii lawmakers are considering adopting a resolution calling for the creation of legal protections for Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property. The effort predates Aloha Poke, but that episode is lending a sense of urgency to a long-festering concern not unfamiliar to native cultures in other parts of the world.

“I was frustrated at the audacity of people from outside of our community using these legal mechanisms to basically bully people from our local community out of utilizing symbols and words that are important to our culture,” said state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, a Native Hawaiian representing Kaneohe and Heeia.

The resolution calls on state agencies and Native Hawaiian organizations to form a task force to develop a legal system to “recognize and protect” Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property and traditional cultural expressions. It also seeks protections for genetic resources, such as taro, a traditional crop that legend says is an ancestor of the Hawaiian people and that scientists have tried to genetically engineer in the past. The task force would be commissioned to submit its recommendations and any proposed legislation to lawmakers in three years. The resolution has passed House and Senate committees.

Native Hawaiian experts note there’s a cultural clash underlying much of this. Modern European-based traditions use trademarks, copyright and patents to create economic incentives and rewards for creating knowledge and culture. Indigenous culture, on the other hand, is often passed on through generations and held collectively.

“They’re never going to sit nicely together in a box,” said Kuhio Lewis, the CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. It will be difficult to determine who would decide who can use Native Hawaiian culture and who would be able to use it. Limits may violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The task force will have to explore who can do what, Lewis said.

“At the least, they need to have some cultural sensitivity about how it’s used. And they need to know you can’t be telling Native Hawaiian businesses they can’t use their own language,” Lewis said.

The resolution points to potential models in New Zealand and Alaska, which both created signifiers that indigenous people may place on their art as a mark of authenticity.


Honolulu, Hawaii, 2018

To read the entire article simply click here.

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