Best websites for learning Tongan

Hema Fifita:

Ko e ‘uhinga eni ne u kamata ‘eku si’i feinga he ngalu’ea ma’amoutolu matua moe fanau.
I started my blog with parents, adults and children in mind to help with you all learn or be inspired to learn more. I must be doing something right. Thank you Alando Soakai for your vote. It is encouraging for me to do more. Mālō ‘aupito

Originally posted on ALANDO SOAKAI:

Children books in the Tongan language. Was brought when I was in Tonga, March 2014.

Currently, the Tongan language has minimal tools for learning how to speak Tongan. Some websites are out dated and do not capture todays audience. I have searched everywhere on the internet, book stores, CDs and even bookshops in Tonga. However, I have come across some useful sites and books I recommend.


Lets Learn Tongan is my favourite. The content is regularly updated and very suitable for todays audience. Tongan hymns and myths are posted for willing learners to learn about Tongan history. From games, activities and even print outs (mainly for children). The pronunciation section  is easy to read and understand. Targeted for beginners. You can also find them on Facebook

Speak Tongan - This site is based primarily on audio learning and is helpful for hearing the pronunciation of phrases and vocabulary. The only site…

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Game: ko hai au? Who am i?

I found this game “who am i” at the flee market last week and my kids and i have been having lots of fun. You ask questions, describing people in Tongan and the other person answers ‘Io pe ‘Ikai – yes or no.


Here are some basic questions and vocabulary for you to expand your repetoire.
Ko e siana/fefine koe? Are you male/female?
‘Oku’ke…. Are you…?
‘Oku’ke tui…. Are/do you wear(ing)…?
‘Oku ‘i ai ha…? Is there a…?
‘Ulupoko – bald
‘Ulukelo – blonde
‘Ulu lanumelomelo – brunette
‘Ulu loloa – long hair
‘Ulu mingimingi – curly hair
Ihu loloa – long nose
Mata sino – fat face
Matasio’ata – glasses
Tataa – hat
Kava – beard

Is this useful? Would you like to see something added let me know.

Hiva: Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki/ Song: I am Soldier of God



I am a soldier of God

I heard this song during this years Children’s White Sunday and have found the words to it. I am an advocate for learning through play and song so enjoy. Is this useful? Let me know?

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - I am a soldier of God
No’o’aki ‘a e mo’oni - tied on my belt with truth
tu’uaki e kosipeli - spreads the Gospel
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili - and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - for I am a soldier of God

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - I am a soldier of God
Kofutau’aki e mā‘oni’oni - i wear the breast shield of righteousness
mo’ui pe ‘i he kelesi - filled alive with grace
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili - and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - for I am a soldier of God

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - I am a soldier of God
topuva’e’aki e melino - my feet soled with peace
mo tukulolo kakato - and I surrender totally
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili - and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - for I am a soldier of God

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki – I am a soldier of God
Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki – I am a soldier of God
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili – and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki – for I am a soldier of God

Ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - I am a soldier of God
heletā‘aki e folofola - fight with the sword of the word of god
mo’ui’aki ‘ene ‘ofa - reborn with his love
pea he’ikai te u hola he fili - and I will not flee from being chosen
he ko e sotia au ‘a e ‘Eiki - for I am a soldier of God



Sunday School questions: Fehu‘i mo e tali

One of the few memories I have of Sunday school back in the Kingdom is the fehu’i mo e tali that kids learn at Siasi Tonga Tau’ataina. I loved hearing it because the answers were always said back in a tune chant like manner which made it easy for kids to learn off by heart. Here … Continue reading

Bogan Jonah NOT from Tonga

Chris Lilley’s comedic portrayal of rebellious troubled teenager Jonah from Tonga is dissappointing to say the least. His mockumentary series really portrays the Aussie Bogan culture. But that mantle piece has already been taken by Kath & Kim and he probably wouldn’t have a following if Jonah were an Aussie, so he finds a niche for his comedy by choosing Tonga and our culture.

Definition of Bogan (noun) derogatory Aussie slag. Refers to someone who is  unsophisticated, uncivilised, lacks manners and culture, crude, no style, un-educated and regarded by society as being of low class.

While many may find it funny, this humour masks some serious issues perpetuating a negative view of Tongans and  upon our youth. 

  • The suggestion that Tongans are bad parents who breed terrible children blaming low imcome status for this vicious cycle is ridiculous.
  • The suggestion that our culture is ill-disciplined to have a ‘Jonah’ like student be so disruptive to the learning of others in class is ludicrous. I find this to be highly rascist and an over-exaggerration of reality of our Tongan youth in highschool. 

The fact that this program is airing in primetime stations like the BBC in UK and HBO in the US gives me great concern for our youth. I for one am no such Bogan, nor is my family and my kids and Tongans in general. We have a beautiful, strong, vibrant culture of respect for each other reflected in our language and our national dress. Our nation has amongst the highest literacy rates in the world. While life and sanitary conditions in England was harsh in the late 1700s, Captain Cook found our islands civilised with order and houses and well maintained gardens and paths.

Ta’e fiemālie ‘aupito he mafola ‘a e polokalama’ni he ngalu’ea.




















A Royal visit: 3 lessons to learn

Royal visit to Tongan Language School


On the 15th of March, I as a student and a parent of two joined the Tongan Language School here in Sydney to welcom the daughter of King Tupou VI, Princess Angelika Lātūpfuipeka to our School.  So what! What is all the fuss about you say? Well 3 Tongan words sum up the significance of this occasion and the lessons I would share with my children.

  1. Faka’apa’apa = (Respect)
  2. Fakalāngilangi (to honour)
  3. ‘Ilo (knowledge)  or Taumu’a ke ‘ilo (Inspire to learn)

I want my kids to live a life of respect. We may not see the Princess every day but we can show respect to our parents, our siblings, our fahu, teachers and  elders. Sitting on the mat was one way the children were showing their respect for the Princess.

I want my children to show respect and honor in order to receive it. The highest honor the Tongan Language School could give the Princess is the ‘ilokava (royal kava ceremony). And in honoring her, I was also honored to take part in the Royal kava circle. As a woman and a commoner to take part and to use my family matapule name was like having a title bestowed upon me and having my mother and all my ancestors sitting there with me.

To have the knowledge of why things are done like the kava ceremony and the origin of the fuakava (the first kava) connects me to my language, my family and my roots and seeing the ‘ilokava happen before my eyes was a surreal moment in my life.

Whether it be a royal visit or a family gathering or funeral, we can show respect, we can honor and we can learn at the same time. In this modern world, where respect is fading fast, the Tongan culture of respect and family makes more sense than the celebrity all-about-me culture. I want them to aspire more to the Tongan culture rather than the celebrity culture.

LLT Love song dedications: Loka Siliva

So your Tongan partner or father/ mother goes on and on about these old Tongan Love songs but you just don’t get it. Koloa pe e lava ‘a e Let’s Learn Tongan Love Song dedications ‘o tokoni atu. The first of many LLT Love song dedications to come. I hope you enjoy.

We learn best through songs and our first song has a wonderful story to it. Composed by the Late Queen Sālote for her future husband Tungī titled the Silver locket. I can imagine her writing this song, she is a young woman getting ready to marry at the age of 17, a year before her father Tupou II dies and she ascends the throne. She has her kingdom and people on her shoulders, she is young but in this composition shows her readiness for love and to dedicate the rest of her life for Tungī who is more experienced in life at nearly 30 years of age. Like the wind is free to do as it pleases (ie Tungī), she decides her heart will be like a silver locket, forever locked for him only.

Amusia pe ‘a e matangi’na
‘Oku’ne angi fa’iteliha
Kae hopoate pe kita
He ‘ofa ‘oku loka siliva
I envy that wind
It moves freely as it pleases
Nevertheless, I surrender myself
to love that is the silver locket


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