Hiva: Si’i matangi kuo ma’ilinoa


Lau Ā faka-Tonga faka Kilisimasi’

ʻOfa ke mou maʻu ha Kilisimasi fiefia mo homou siʻi ngaahi fāmili. Ko e kiʻi meʻaʻofa eni maʻamoutolu kau mātua’ ke kau aipē ki he teuteuʻi kilisimasi homou loto fale.

ʻOfa atu mei he sino ni ki he sino na.

Christmas greetings and a gift from me to you. Feel free to print and add to your Season decorations at home. I believe Our children can not be what they can not see. The more normal it is to be surrounded by our language at every occassion our children will gravitate towards it.

ʻOfa atu Hema

GAME: Sai ke tau ‘ilo

Game Saiketauilo.png

An important feature about our Tongan culture is our value of Tauhi vā (keeping our relations close).  However as our extended families grow and move further away it does get harder to keep in touch. It is important to take advantage of the times that families do get together to bond and keep those family ties strong. So here is a great game to connect reminisce and laugh and will defintely bring all generations closer by sharing stories.

We gathered for Fathers day and played this last night and there was plenty of laughter and emotional tears at times reminiscing of loved ones not here. And the best part of it all was the younger generation who were glued to their seats listening to all the stories rather than in their rooms on the devices. So when you have a captive audience take advantage of it and tell them all the stories of life in Tonga, explain cultural concepts behind the stories you share.

The saying “sai ke tau ʻilo” is a typical saying you will hear often meaning ʻgood to know’ often said in a somewhat sarcastic way.


  1. Gather the family around.
  2. You have to share a story that perhaps no one knows or only a few people know of. It can be of your childhood, a memory of your parents, grandparents. Memories of life in Tonga. A story of a current or past life challenge and how you overcame it.
  3. If a quarter of the family eg 3 people already know the story they will call out “sai ke tau ʻilo” then you must share another story.
  4. Good for you to start off the game to show the others how it is played.
  5. Ensure that everyone shares a story big or small. May take a few rounds for the quiet ones to share but thats ok.
  6. Taimi vaʻinga ē (Time to play!)

Open Day Bazaar

Mālō e lelei kaunga ako, siʻotoʻofa!

Hello fellow learners! I am always thinking of how i can engage my young learners not only to ignite in them a love of learning for our language but also give them an authentic learning experience.

This school term we are learning about clothes and Tongan clothes in particular tupenu, sote aloha, puletaha. I promised my students they would run a store somehow at the end of term and i am so excited our class will be hosting a Tongan clothes swap. This is a great idea given all the Tongan vala that we have lying around. Why not swap it pass it on to someone else to enjoy.

Tongan superhero in training


For a tiny nation we have so much to be proud of. Pita Lolo carried our flag proudly at Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and this year we are cheering as Mate Maʻa Tonga play to victory #RLWC2017.

When I consider how a tiny nation continues to accomplish despite its size, I am reminded of these two quotes.

“Ko Tonga moʻunga ki he loto” – Tongan Proverb

The first is a proverb meaning Tonga’s strength-hold is its heart. Moʻunga means mountain and Tonga is not known for mountains yet we have a courageous spirit that when faced with a mountain and the challenges that it brings we do not shy away.

“We should not be defined by the smallness of our islands, but by the greatness of our oceans. We are the sea, we are the ocean. Oceania is us”. – Epeli Hauʻofa

The second is a quote by author Epeli Hauʻofa. We Tongans DO NOT define ourselves by the size of our small islands. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we have never been colonized, but we Tongans define ourselves more by the vastness of what was once the Tongan maritime empire.

For my children and the younger students that I teach the Tongan language to, I like to put things simply that they can understand and relate to. “You come from a line of warriors, You are a superhero in training!”

Your superpower is your language. Your superpower is your culture. “Ko Tonga moʻunga ki he loto”. Always remember who you are and the faith and prayers of your family and ancestors. Take the time to learn as much as you can of your culture and language. Embrace your superpower. Use it for good!

Tuʻa ʻofa ʻeiki atu Hema

Lea ʻoe Uike: Siʻoto ʻofa

Koe lea ʻoe Uike’. The word of the week!

Greetings, our learning journey for this new year begins with a word of the week or more like my favourite word or a new word that iʻve come across. 

It is a Tongan greeting which you donʻt often hear as the more popular greeting of mālō e lelei. If you grew up in Tonga then you are probably familiar with the word but for most of us raised outside the kingdom this will interest you.

As with all new words you learn, you quickly become aware of the word around you. And the more i come across it, the more i love it. 

Reading one of the Maui legends in Tongan, Maui greets a lady on one of his epic journies with Siʻoto ʻofa fefine! Greetings Lady!

In the Tongan bible Angel Gabriel comes to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:28) “the angel went to her and said siʻoto ʻofa you who are higly favoured, the lord is with you.” Note there is no mālō e lelei!.

Then on a recent post on facebook i noticed the same greeting on my grandfathers grave. The translation being ‘Dear greetings to you Rev. S Lemoto Tongilava beloved father’.

This greeting has now become a favourite of mine. It just seems more poetic than mālō e lelei so i will be using it more often.

Happy Learning, Tuʻa ʻofa atu Hema 👋🏽

Foʻilea ‘oe Uike’: Ako

Mālō e lelei! To encourage the use of the Tongan language we are posting a word of the week that can be used with children or beginners. 

Ako (ah-koh) is a wonderful word in Tongan. It is the word for learning. It is also the word for teaching. In our culture, ako is about the collective sharing of knowledge, mutual learning. It is one word that can be used to describe all types of learning. To learn, to teach, to master, to practice, to study, to teach oneself: self-education.

  1. Naʻa ne ʻalu ʻo ako. He/She went to school.
  2. Tau ‘alu ki he ako faiva’.  Let’s go to the dance practice.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema