Tongan Language Week: “love, humility, kindness and respect for each other”

Staff at the Langimalie Tongan Health Society Incorporated in Auckland have embraced this year’s theme for Tongan Language Week by emphasising their daily prayers and displaying inspirational bible passages throughout their clinics.

The theme is “Fakakoloa ‘o Aotearoa ‘aki ‘a e Lotu Mo’oni” which in English means “enriching Aotearoa through prayer and faith”.

Langimalie Clinical Services Manager, Mele Vaka, says the theme is a reminder of how important faith and prayer is when guidance and wisdom are needed during the current health and economic crisis.

“We always have morning prayers before we start our day which helps with staff morale and prepares us to welcome our families into our clinics. We are also displaying important bible passages and words from Tongan hymns around the clinic to remind each one of us that the word of God comes from the bible.”

Mrs Vaka says her organisation, which has three clinics in Auckland who provide health care services to Tongan families, are blessed to have a majority of their staff speak the language fluently which allows the patients to feel secure and comfortable – especially the elderly.

“Our patients like to come here because they can speak to the staff in the Tongan language and it makes them comfortable. They come and sit in the waiting room and talk to each other in Tongan. They laugh and it makes them happy.”

She says Tongan Language Week is a time of the year where all the staff can celebrate their heritage and culture and are encouraged to wear to work their traditional dress.

“This week is not only about celebrating our language but also showring our culture and identity. Our staff have one week of the year where they can come into work wearing the Tongan puletaha with their ta’ovala and show how proud they are of being Tongan.”

During this week, Mrs Vaka reflects on the words of a Tongan hymn that she recites each day to inspire her.

“Ko ‘Ofa ‘oku fa’a kataki. Mo angamokomoko. ‘Ikai ke femeheka’aki. Tangi ke ongoongo. It’s a hymn about love, humility, kindness and respect for each other.”


Date: Friday 11 September