Tapa wedding dresses to admire

For as long as I can remember I wanted a Tapa wedding dress for my wedding and 12 years ago I did just that when it wasn’t in vogue. It is so nice to see the creativity and popularity grow. Hope you enjoy my little tribute to the wonderful creations. If you’re a bride-to-be, may it inspire you.

Five things/ vocabulary to know about Tapa.

  1. Tapa is cloth made from the bark of the mulberry tree.
  2. Feta’aki is the white cloth before any dye or design (kupesi) is put on to make it the final product called a ngatu.
  3. Ngatu ‘uli (plain all black-coloured) is the chiefly of all types of ngatu.
  4. Koka’anga is the term for the making of the Tapa.
  5. Fale koka’anga is where traditional learning and knowledge is shared for all the women.
  6. When a ngatu presentation is done you will hear the Matapule say “Fakafetaʻi e koka’anga” (Thank you for your Tapa presentation).

Like and Comment which one is your favourite.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema.


Know your Tongan: ki (v) kia

Here is the first of our Thursday Grammar. Do you know the difference between the two words “ki” and “kia”?  Both mean the same English preposition word “to”.

Thurs grammar

Read carefully the information above and fill in the blanks.

Is it “ki” or “kia”?

  1. ‘Ave _____ Sione. Give it to John.
  2. Na’a’ ke lea _____ Mele? Did you talk to Mary?
  3. ‘Alu ____ he falekoloa’ Go to the shop.
  4. Na’a’ ke falala _____ Tomasi? Did you trust Thomas?
  5. Foki ____ ‘api. Return home.
  6. Sio  ____ he faiako’. Look at the teacher.

Hope this helps you. Leave a comment and share with those who do not know the difference.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema

2015 a year of learning

At this time of year I like to remind myself and all the entire Tongan Language School of how much they have achieved in 2015. So I created this video. Kids always love to see themselves in videos. I then challenged my family to write down their new goals. Amongst our new family goals is to speak more in Tongan. To consciously catch ourselves when we speak in English. To make more opportunities to use our language. What one Tongan word will describe 2016 for you? Will it be ako (learn, learning). For me it will be the word “va’inga” (play). To be more playful, to incorporate more play-based learning into my lessons. 2016 will be a year to play.

‘Ofa ke mou ma’u ha ta’u fo’ou fiefia.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema

How to love your long Tongan name

Tangaki Taulupe Faletau

Do you or your child have a long Tongan name? Chances are most pālangi people can not pronounce it. Am i right? Like Taulupe, you are probably using a nickname or prefer your pālangi name over your Tongan name. It’s James not Semisi. 

When asked her name, a young student said her pālangi name until the teacher found out her name was Vaʻelaveamata and insisted on using her Tongan name. Who would name their child (foot injured face/eyes) which is the literal meaning. I wondered wether she knew the origin of her name? She was a beautiful girl who became the wife of the Tu’i Tonga back in 1450. Her name was Va’e (foot) but when the Tu’i Tonga saw her he was so blinded to the point of injury by her beauty that she became known as Va’elaveamata

Here are my tips in teaching kids at a young age to love their name. 

  1. Know the Story behind the name.
  2. Share the story. Keep reminding them what an awesome name they have. Share stories of their namesake.
  3. Make sure teachers/ friends can pronounce their name correctly. It isnʻt that hard teachers ʻread it how you see it, phonetically. 

Mālō Tuʻa ʻofa atu


Community Language Teacher Profile: Mary Greatz

It’s great to see the Government placing an emphasis on community languages being taught with government schools. The Tongan Language School here in Sydney is establishing itself and there are 2 to 3 government primary schools that teach Tongan within their primary curriculum.

Community Language Teacher Mary Greatz talks about her experience within one of these government primary schools.

Is it Taimi’ni or Taini’mi?

taimini MEME

This is another of my internal questions that has lingered in my head regarding the Tongan language. I have always used Taimi’ ni which means at this moment in time/ right now. Then I started to hear people say Taini’ mi, so are you saying it right or not.

It has been confirmed by Tongan linguists so you can be rest assured, the correct term is Taimi’ ni.  The Tongan version of time (taimi) is used with (ni) an enclitic word, joining together to pronounce it as one word with the fakau’a (glottal stop) TAIMI’ NI.

Tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema

Hiva: Si’i Lolo Lyrics

Mou teuteu ke tau hiva e! Get ready to sing-a-long!

I had fun translating this for one of my readers. With a bit of research I found out the meaning and history behind the song. Apparently this was originally composed by Talolakepa Fulivai on behalf of a young Queen Mata’aho, wife of Tupou IV in the 1950’s who captained a champion Netball** team named “Lolo ‘a Halaevalu” (being the nickname for Neiafu, Vava’u) during a tournament in Vava’u against other teams from Vava’u.


Si’i Lolo

Vā’inga loto mokomoko

Fai si’o anga

Ko e malimali katakata

Kuo malo mu’a

Si’omou hela’ na

mo e tou’anga

Si’ono faingata’a

Si’i Lolo [Delightful Vava’u! probably referring to the Teams in the tournament]

playing it cool

as usual your sweet nature

of cool laughing smiles.

thank you dearly for your tiring efforts there

and your earnest work

through the battles faced.


Funga Veitatalo mo e Hala Kaute

Funga Veingangana mo e Hala Siale

‘Ā’ā pe ‘oua ‘e mohe

Na’a ke tafia ai pea ke mole

Pea ke hanu mo ke faka’ise’isa

Ka kuo ‘osi si’ete fakatokanga

Funga Veitatalo team and the Hala Kaute team

Funga Veingangana team and the Hala Siale team

Stay awake do not tire/ sleep

before you are swept away to your peril

and you complain with regret,

But I have forewarned you.


Tala hoku ‘ofa ki Lelea

Mo e fu’u Fā ko Fieme’a

Lolo ‘a Halaevalu si’ene tafe

Lanu ai pea ke hake

Pea ke hifo ki he Fanga Leavale 

Mo e Heilala ‘o Loto Takaunove.

Tell of my love to Lelea

and to the big tree of Fieme’a

Lolo ‘a Halaevalu team oh how she flows,

colouring the terrain up and

down towards Fanga Leavale

and to the Heilala Royal Estate of Loto Taukaunove.

**Netball otherwise known as “pasiketipolo” is the Tongan version of netball which has 9 a-side instead of 7 a-side.

Ka ‘i ai ha fehala’aki pea kātaki ‘o fakatonutonu mai e.

Mālō tu’a ‘ofa atu Hema