End of year presentation: speak Tongan at home


Tongan Language School (Sydney) presentation Day
Reciting the words to Tolifisi at the Tongan Language School (Sydney) presentation day 2013


The school year has ended with our presentation day last saturday. It was a heartwarming day here in Sydney with the words of our guest speaker still resonating with me. The guest speaker Albert Vella who is the President of the NSW Federation of Community Language Schools, talked about the need and importance of speaking Tongan at home.  What is the point of going to Tongan School and learning but not speaking it at home. So that is my new years resolution to be mindful of how much English I actually use and to increase the use of my Tongan at home.

Ko e ha ‘aonga ako lea faka-Tonga kae foki ki api ‘o lea faka-palangi! What is the use of learning Tongan but returning home to speak in English!

As a student and a mother I am eternally grateful to the teachers, and helpers who have dedicated their time to sharing their knowledge to us who aspire to learn and improve our Tongan. My 7yo daughter has relished the experience of the past year so much that she won the most-improved prize award. She has a new found confidence in speaking the language more at home. All I need to do is support that and limit my English so 2014 be good to me and letslearntongan 🙂


Vavai ‘a ‘Amelika: a failing of America

I want you to speak in Tongan
I want you to speak in Tongan!

I’m currently travelling in America and the general comments I have been getting from the old folks have been the same everywhere I go.

  • They are happy to hear my children understand and speak in Tongan
  • They are happy to hear a mother speak in Tongan to their children
  • Their comments include “Vaivai ‘a ‘Amelika” America fails when it comes to passing on the language.That their own children understand little of the language.

But is it really only America with this problem? I think the problem is everywhere. Parents and grandparents and the community need to make the Tongan language a priority. Loose the language and you lose the culture and ones identity.

My Tongan Charts: Share 2 Win!

My Tongan Charts: Share 2 Win!

I am very excited to announce our first SHARE2WIN giveaway of “My Tongan Charts”. As a thank-you to all the people I have connected with, learnt from and fellow students of the Tongan language here are 5 packs available for you all to win.

Starting Monday, 1 pack will be given away daily. This competition is simple, you can either share here or on facebook WHY learning the language is important to you OR simply SHARE THE PICTURE ABOVE throughout your family and friends network and remember to post up “shared” on our facebook page.

They have been designed by myself as a way to engage children and I am happy to say they have the tick of approval by my own three kids ranging from 7 – 2 who happen to be very opinionated as to what they like and donʼt like. If you donʼt win they are still available via my online store in A4, A3 and A2 sizes.  My next goal is to expand the range of affordable educational resources with  an ebook picture dictionary for children in the Tongan language. Any comments or feedback please feel free to post.

You can check out the charts on my online store tonganmade.com

Mālō and happy sharing.

The importance of speaking in Tongan

Mahuʻinga ʻo e lea faka-Tonga.

This is an interview of Lady Fielakepa on the importance of speaking in Tongan. Her story would resonate with many Tongan families as it does with me.

She points to the old belief of her parents that education was important and in order to achieve it one had to be proficient in the English language. Which is great but the downfall of that was the demise of her Tongan language skills. She realised her own shortcomings and has since then strived to improve her own language skills and pushed her own kids and grandchildren to learn Tongan first.

The new belief is to teaching kids at an early age Tongan first. I am definitely encouraged knowing that Lady Fielakepa who is quite knowledgeable in Tongan culture is still a student  using the dictionary and continually learning from others about the Tongan language.

Happy International Tongan language day

I heard on the radio this morning that it was International mother language day. A day that has been celebrated by the UNESCO since 1999. This yearʻs theme is “access to books and digital media in local languages”.  How fitting it is, as the whole premise of this blog is to celebrate and promote the Tongan language.

The importance of written materials in the Tongan language.

The use of the Tongan language in the home environment and in schools will not thrive without supporting the development of written resources like books, textbooks, and written material to support oral activities. Thankfully there are linguist and educators like Dr Tēvita ‘Ō. Ka‘ili and Brian Dawson who have helped immensely in developing the Tongan language through orthography (the spelling system of a language).

If you have any Tongan language books or resources that you have produced or know of any, please contact us as we are happy to promote it here.

To download Tongan language keyboard by Brian Dawson, Click here. It is free. If you find it useful drop Brian a line and tell him so. Even further support his work and donate.


Welcome to Letʼs Learn Tongan

Mālō e tau lava, Greetings and WELCOME to “Letʼs Learn Tongan” blog.

My name is Hema and I am a mother and a teacher to my four children. I believe passing on one’s culture is important. I believe that one’s language is the carrier of that culture. Therefore I feel it my duty to teach the Tongan language to my children. My children have quickly learnt their Aa-Ee-Fa-Haʼ and taha-ua-toluʼ but have been reluctant to improve with little  language resources around.

Thus LetʼsLearnTongan.com was born!  I intend this blog to be a great resource for children, parents and educators everywhere, especially those looking for ideas and activities to help make learning of the Tongan language fun and engaging. Follow us on our Facebook page and join in the conversation.

What can you expect to find here?

  • games and ideas
  • songs to listen and repeat
  • hands-on learning activities
  • printables
  • Make arts and crafts projects
  • book reviews, recommendations for our favorite products
  • parenting & teaching tips and ideas
  • plus more!!!

Mālō tuʻa ʻofa atu