Thousands of Tongans all over Aotearoa will for the first time fully grasp the sacredness, sense of patriotism and belonging bestowed on New Zealand’s National anthem this Sunday, September 1 when a group of Tongans students will publicly perform the National Anthem in Tongan language.
It is part of the Tongan Language Week celebrations that runs from 1-7 September, which will be the main highlight at Pasifika Education Centre but organizers expected “this collaboration, schools, workplaces and churches around New Zealand can ‘have a go’ at singing this anthem both during and beyond Tongan Language Week”.
The collaboration has resulted in all five verses of the New Zealand national anthem being translated into Tongan. Alongside the
translation is the unique Tongan numbered notes.
Pasifika Education Centre CEO, Christine Nurminen says: “The Te Reo Maori and English version of the New Zealand national anthem is known by generations of Tongans. Inspiration has been drawn from both versions. To hear the national anthem sung in a Pacific language – is exciting”.
Choir rehearsals are underway with representatives from different Tongan student groups from universities and tertiary institutes around Auckland. Choirmaster Lea’aesola Vuna leads each rehearsal encouraging correct pronunciation, pitch and reading of the unique Tongan musical notes.
The first public performance of the anthem will take place as part of a community programme on Sunday 1 September 2013 at the AIS St Helen’s campus from 5.00pm.
Recording of the anthem will take place on Thursday 5th September at the PEC office in Manukau City from 6.00pm. The recording will provide an opportunity for the adult learners enrolled in PEC classes to take part.
In the spirit of the theme, it is expected that radio stations, online communities will share the anthem through their networks.
“For NZTTSA, this collaboration has provided a learning opportunity for the diverse Tongan students in different tertiary institutions to come together and celebrate our unique Tongan music” says Tupoutu’a Tu’akoi from the NZTTSA.
‘Alisi Tatafu, who also supports this collaboration says:
“We appreciate PEC approaching our national network. It makes sense to consult and include youth and existing student associations as part of a collective community effort to share Tongan language”.
Christine believes that this recreation is a genuine effort to acknowledge the Tongans culture in New Zealand.
“Tongan values like love, respect, loyalty, faith and identity resonant with other Pacific and diverse communities living in
Aotearoa”, she says