Niue Primary School. Photos courtesy of Waterlea and Niue Primary Schools
“Fakaalofa lahi atu ke he tau fanau Niue mai he tau fanau Niue i Niu Silani. Big greetings to the children of Niue from Niue children in
New Zealand”, announces the Living Heritage web story created by year 1-6 learners at Waterlea School, Mangere.
Living Heritage (Tikanga Tuku Iho), is an online bilingual initiative that enables
New Zealand schools to develop and publish an online resource based on a heritage treasure in their community.
It is designed to encourage young people to learn from their past and to record items of cultural heritage significant to their community in a digital format for future generations, whilst at the same time, sharing their stories internationally. Completed websites are uploaded to the National Library, where these valuable taonga are stored and preserved for the future.
In June this year, Waterlea learners with a Niue heritage produced a Living Heritage site about their lives in New Zealand. Before building the site, learners collected pictures and artefacts and wrote stories. The web stories reflect the conversations they had with their parents about their Niue heritage, family villages, way of life, and how their families came to New Zealand.
On the day that the learners gathered to build their website, family members arrived at school with more stories and items of interest – transforming the school project into a rich community cultural event. Waterlea’s web stories, Nukutukulea Foou, share the heritage and experiences of Niue children in New Zealand.
The Pacific Islands’ Living Heritage Programme was developed three years ago, with support from The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, reflecting the organisation’s goals of preserving cultural heritage, particularly intangible heritage such as stories, dances, languages, and traditions.
The programme encourages Pasifika learners living in New Zealand and in the Pacific to share their stories via the Living Heritage website. So far learners from the Cook Islands, Samoa, and now Niue have taken part.
Waterlea school said learners loved showcasing their Niuean heritage and culture, and that creating a Living Heritage ‘web story’ helped the school community make connections to the Pacific. For example, after the Board of Trustees strategic planning meeting, a Niue family member volunteered to translate the Board’s invitation to families into Niuean.
“It was lovely to see connections being made within our Niue community,” said one teacher at the school. “When a grandmother came to add her family’s items to the website she asked our Niue children who their grandparents were. It turned out that she knew them and also some of their siblings.”
Two weeks after Waterlea published its web story, learners and teachers at Niue Primary School and Early Childhood Centre in Niue viewed the story online and instantly recognised one of their former classmates, Meqados, as the author of one of the web stories.
A group of year 5 learners and their teachers then decided to create their own Living Heritage story. Using an inquiry approach, they brainstormed ideas and planned their story pages. The learners discussed ideas at home, gathered further information, and developed their online story. Their web stories, which are collectively titled Fofoga he atuhau pulpulaola ha Niue, share the beauty of the young generation of Niue. Some of the individual stories include Fishing and Planting and How to make an Umu.
Participation in Living Heritage is free to all New Zealand schools and open to all age groups. It provides a learning opportunity that reflects curriculum principles such as valuing this country’s different cultures and experiences, traditions, histories and languages.
As well as engaging key competencies such as using language, symbols and texts; managing self; relating to others and participating and contributing; information and communications technology (ICT) the programme is integrated into a number of curriculum areas including science, social science, technology, English, and language.