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


Best poetic memorial stone: Ko hai au ke u tuhu ki he laʻaá?

Pic curteousy of Lisa Strnad. Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Park Colleyvillw Texas USA






This has to be the most beautiful poetic memorial stone/ bench I have come across. Ok some background knowledge you may need in understanding the beauty of this memorial stone for Tony Andy Fonua (1955-2004).

In Tongan poetry ʻkakalaʼ or the sweet smelling flowers are used as a metaphor for people. The use of the metaphor “FĀ KAKALA” gives a timeframe of when he died which is during the reign of King Taufāʻahau Tupou IV. Therefore the author gives ode/ respect to the Four chiefly flowers of his country Tupou I-IV. The second line gives the notion of the sun being sacred they dare not question the sun for the predicament that they are in. They were joined together at the altar which gives the author of this piece as the widow. The “fuakava” is an important ʻkavaʼ term in the Tongan culture. It is the first cup taken as a solemn vow, you are not culturally married until you take the ʻfuakava maliʼ. Therefor they were joined at the altar and will hold their fuakava vow for eternity. The translation is as follows





Did you like this? Let me know or share. Mālō Tuʻa ʻofa atu

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 are some of the first basic questions that all the children learn at Sunday School about God. I often out of the blue ask these simple questions of my kids as a reminder of Gods presence and love for them. And always good to practise as much Tongan as possible with them. These are also great basic questions that you can use to build your vocabulary and ask other questions.

Who made you? God.
Who made you? God.
Who is God? Our Father in Heavan.
Who is God? Our Father in Heavan.
Where is God? He is everywhere.
Where is God? He is everywhere.
Does God love you? Yes, he loves all things he created
Does God love you? Yes, he loves all things he created


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.

Talamonū: Tongan Christmas Greetings

Talamonū: Christmas Greetings

‘Oku ‘oatu ‘ae popoaki talamonū faka kilisimasi ko eni kiate kimoutolu kotoa pe ʻi he tapa ʻo e koloape. ‘Ofa ke mou ma’u ha Kilisimasi fiefia mo faka’ofo’ofa ‘o hangē ko ho’omou feitu’u faka’ofo’ofa pea tauange ke tau ‘inasi ‘i he fiefia tatau ʻi hono fakamanatua ‘o e ‘aho ‘Alo’i.

‘Ofa lahi atu meiate au Hema Fifita mo ʻeku siʻi famili masiva

‘Oiaue ‘Ana Latu lyrics

'Ana Latu

There are not many children’s lullabies in the Tongan language. This probably has to do with the old traditional attitude that kids should be seen but not heard. ‘Ana Latu is the closest one I could think which is a well known children’s lullaby a lot of mother’s sing to their kids. But if you listen closely to the words, this song is actually a lamenting song about ‘Ana who has departed this world.

5 ways to say the Tongan letter F

Tongan letter F

5 ways to say the Tongan letter F: FA-FE-FI-FO-FU

  • Tongan is a phonetic language – say it the way you read it.
  • Take your ʻEnglish languageʼ hat off when you are learning Tongan. There are no silent letters, therefore do not get caught up by second guessing yourself about how to pronounce each letter.
  • Remember the rule: Vowels always follow a Consonant.
  • Look for the VOWEL following the consonant which will tell you how to pronounce the syllable.
  • A vowel and itʼs corresponding consonant syllable can only be said one way eg. A = (ah) and consonant F = (fah)

Using the picture prompts above for the F syllable letters practice saying some of the following words;

  1. fafa = to carry someone on your back
  2. fefafa = to carry someone on your back
  3. fēfē? = how are you?
  4. fī = to plait

Mālō ho mou meʻa mai kihe peesi masiva ko ʻeni. Koloa pe ʻe lava eni ʻo tokoni kiate koe mo hoʻo feinga ke fakalakalaka ange ʻa e lea faka-Tonga ho mou fānau.

Lords Prayer in Tongan

Iʼm currently teaching this to my kids. Hope this helps you in your efforts 🙂

Ko e Lotu ʻa e Eikiʼ

Ko ʻemau Tamai ʻoku ‘i Hēvani,
Ke tapuhā ho huafaʼ,
Ke aʻu mai hoʻo puleʻangaʼ,
Ke fai ho finangalo i mamani;
Hangē ko ia ʻi Hēvani
Foaki mai haʻa mau meʻakai ki ʻanai.
Pea fakamolemoleʻi ʻemau ngaahi ʻangahala
ʻO hangē ko ʻemau fakamolemole ʻa kinautolu kotoa pē ʻoku moʻua mai.
Pea ʻoua naʻaʼke tuku kimautolu ki he ʻahiʻahi;
Ka ke fakahaofi ʻa kimautolu mei he fili.
He ʻoku oʻou ʻa e puleʼ, pea mo e mālohiʼ, mo e kololia,
ʻO taʻengata pea taʻengata. ʻEmeni

The Lords Prayer

Our father who art in Heavan,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in Heavan.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us and those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and glory is yours
Now and forever Amen.

Write a lunch note of ʻofa

Lunch note for my 7yo daughter
Lunch note for my 7 yo daughter

Kidʻs love to receive notes. Even better when it is a surprise. Try writing a note in Tongan and leave it in your kids lunch box if they are old enough to read. As you incorporate more Tongan words into your childrenʼ vocabulary and/ or yourself, they will soon learn to love speaking in Tongan. You could expand this to suit your circumstance. The possibilities are endless.

The picture above was a note I wrote for my eldest daughter. It was her first day back at school today. She started year 2 or second grade. I have noticed she is speaking a lot less Tongan since beginning primary (elementary) school. So I try to incorporate more of the Tongan language where ever I can for her.

I wrote a little note ʻofa atu = love to you. I thought she might have problems reading it but the love heart gave it away. Her reaction after school was worth all the effort

Tu’a ‘ofa atu