Vagahau Niue Language Week First Ever Wellington Launch

Press Release – Niue Language Week

Vagahau Niue Language Week

First Ever Wellington Launch

WELLINGTON.10 October 2018— Vagahau Niue Language Week will be kicking off this Saturday at Avalon pavilion with its first-ever Wellington launch. The local Hutt Valley Niuean community has been actively promoting their language over the past year, so they’ve decided to take the initiative and have a Wellington-based launch, as well as the traditional launch in Auckland.

Wellington Vagahau Niue Language Week runs from the 14th – 20th October 2018. This weekend’s Wellington launch will be a celebration of culture, food, songs, dance, entertainment, stalls, history, crafts, and Niuean educational resources.

This year, Vanessa Semu, appointed chairperson of Vagahau Niue Hutt Valley, has been encouraging people within the community to attend Vagahau Niue classes, where people learn the Niuean language, songs, culture, traditions and formal and informal methods of conversation.

“We want people to understand their culture,” Vanessa Semu says. “Some of people attending our classes haven’t grown up in Niue, but now, they’re learning the culture of their parents and getting back to their roots. Others are from blended families or partners of Niueans. We even have one Samoan member, learning her husband’s culture and language. It’s wonderful to see the interest in our culture.”

“We meet up on a Tuesday night, every fortnight,” says Mrs Semu. “We have a class just for kids, and another for adults. Beginners can also have one-on-one tutoring to bring them up to speed to join a class. Our vision is to learn, use and maintain our language, culture and heritage, so that our children and future generations will continue to learn and develop.”

The group has additional reason to celebrate—the launch day is their birthday, one year since Vagahau Niue Hutt Valley was started. The group acknowledges the support they’ve had from the Wellington and Porirua Vagahau Niue Language Groups, which were established in 2006.

Mrs Semu says, “Mailigi Hetutu has been the chair person of Vagahau Niue Wellington since she was elected in 2006 to lead and support the Niuean Community in language, culture and their heritage. Mailigi’s vision is for the Niuean Community to continue our Vagahau Niue and heritage. Many Niueans have assisted and supported the community as well. Without them we wouldn’t have our Vagahau Niue. I thank them and their families.”

Vagahau Niue Hutt Valley would also like to start a Niuean playgroup from Febuary 2019 at the Koraunui Stokes Valley Hub, as well as a craft group. But Vanessa Semu’s vision doesn’t stop there. Her dream is to start a Vagahau Niue app, an online program with a human voice and face, that assists people around the world to have access to Vagahau Niue twenty four hours a day, no matter where they live. “That’s my dream, my big goal. And I’d love to hear from anyone interested in helping make it happen.”

If your community would like to connect with the Niue language, craft groups or playgroups, or if you would like to support development of a Niue Language App, please contact Vagahau Niue Hutt Valley by email:

For more information or to attend the launch, please contact Vanessa Semu on 020 412 44961 or

Vagahau Niue Language Week Wellington launch venue and time:

· Avalon Pavilion 11am – 2pm

Dignitaries invited to the launch:

· His Excellency Mr Fisa Igilisi Pihigia, Niue High Commissioner and his wife Bonnie Pihigia

· Ministry of Pacific Peoples – Tina Simcock, Senior Advisor, Planning & Reporting

· Lower Hutt Mayor – Ray Wallace

· Labour MP, Hutt Valley – Chris Hipkins

· Labour, MP, Rongotai – Paul Eagle

· Moka Sipeli – Patroness

· Reverend & Mrs Liuvaie

· Reverend & Mrs T Etuata

· Reverend & Mrs Hakeagaiki (Lower Hutt Hospital Chaplin)

Bishop Semu

Reverand & Mrs Faulkland

· Adrian Mui – Senior Advisor Ministry of Pacific Peoples

· Mrs Ane Hunkin – Vagahau Niue National Wellington Representative

· Ianeta Ikiua – Tutor for Vagahau Niue Porirua

· Ministry of Education ECE Pacific sector – Juliana Malaeulu

. On Niue radio

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