A group of over 30 young people from the Hakupu PIC Newton church in Auckland arrived on the island last week as part of a tour to revive interest in the Niuean culture and the vagahau.
According to the youth leader Leki Jackson Bourke, young people in New Zealand feel disconnected from their culture and their language and struggle with their identity.
According to Leki Bourke, this trip to Niue is a way to reconnect with Niue and showing the youth group the birthplace of the vagahau.
Bourke says that quite often they hear the term “plastic” as a reference to young Niueans born and raised in New Zealand, which is why the church provides the strong foundation in which they as a youth group can dispel such stereotypes.
Leki Bourke says that the group uses dance performance and singing as a way to revive the vagahau Niue because in New Zealand, one doesn’t speak the vagahau everyday so the church is where they get to speak and sing in vagahau.
This visit to Niue, Leki said reconnects these young people to their Niuean heritage and building valuable networks with the Niue based youth groups.