Premier Sir Toke Talagi has emphasized the importance of preserving Niuean culture, language and tradition.
Given the size of the population, Sir Talagi believes Niueans are the last bastions of Taoga.
“It’s important because Niue is very small, this is the last of the Mohicans, We’re the last bastions for Niueans, there’s nobody else, there’s no other country that we go to and say oh there’s some Niueans there, this is it we’ve got to look after it and we got to be very careful about how we introduce other people into our society. I’m not saying we shouldn’t, I’m saying that if we’re talking about heritage and we’re talking about Taoga, we’re it. Unfortunately or fortunately we are it. You’ll find other countries which have bigger populations and they can afford to bring in other people as well but in our case, the margins are very small, got to be extremely careful.” said Sir Talagi
It has been publicly stated by the Department of Education that the Niuean language is at risk of being endangered.
As part of efforts to sustain the language, the department is raising awareness and has helped facilitate programmes in the two schools targeting not just the vagahau but also crafts and performing arts.
The arts and culture festival will also be held next month in Niue.
“I think we do need to teach Niuean like you do English but I also think that we should have quality educators to do that and I think that‘s what’s lacking. I don’t disagree with the philosophy behind teaching Niuean as a language but at the same time I’m also clear about the fact that teaching is one thing, it’s our use of the language. That’s why you find in major occasions when I make a speech it’s all in Niuean because I want our kids to listen to our language, to understand that’s our language and I want them to become familiar with the sound of it. We’re given the language by our fore fathers way back and all we’re doing is perpetuating that into the future. If we don’t do that we’ll fail and the best thing to do is use it.” said the Premier