Tag Archives: Languages

What my Tongan language means to me?

Koe ‘Otua mo Tonga Ko Hoku Tofi’a.

One of the few Tongan phrases I know but the one that speaks to me the most.

Embedded in our deep love for God and Tonga is our language. Our language tells our stories from the sea-farers that came before us, and will be the same language for future generations.

Tongan language is a way for those who are born outside of Tonga to stay connected to our roots. It is our connection to our traditions, culture, and ways of life. Simple words like faka’apa’apa and talangofua hold deep meanings and at times there are no words in the English dictionary that can be used to fully translate such words.

What does Tongan language mean to me?

When I hear the hymns being sung in church, or even a simple conversation, I feel as though I am somewhat proud to be Tongan. Before I moved to Dunedin for University, I can safely say that I was rarely exposed to the Tongan language. I went to church but I did not understand, I sung the hymns but did not understand, I would hear my mother and her relatives laughing over a cup of tea but I did not understand. This never really bothered me until I moved.

For the first time in life I found myself with a group of Tongan friends, who not only spoke in Tongan but actually knew the culture and the traditions. At this point, I learnt that our language carries our culture, traditions and ways of life. Our language is the essence of who we are. When I hear another person speaking Tongan I light up, because there is someone else who I can identify with. Language bring us together, it gives us the opportunity to celebrate our identity, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

By creating safe and comfortable spaces where our Tongan students feel free to speak their language, laugh in their language and interact with each other is important. Within the Canterbury University Tongan Students Association we aim to promote this. Being able to create these kind of spaces creates a home away from home for our Tongan students from all over New Zealand as well as the world.

Opening Doors Globally

Join us for a special two-hour event featuring presenter Monique Surges as she discusses her highs and lows in her journey to language acquisition. Monique is the CEO of the German-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce- a job role that was just the beginning of some great experiences she would like to share with you.

11am – 12pm: Presentation by Monique Surges

12pm-1pm: A panel discussion with:

Monique Surges (Chief Executive of the German-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Auckland)
Associate Prof. Jörg Finsterwalder (UC Business School)
Dr. Stefanie Gutschmidt (College of Engineering)
Associate Prof. Chris Jones (College of Arts)

and Prof Natalia Chaban (Department of Global, Cultural and Language Studies/National Centre for Research on Europe) as moderator

The free event is being held on Thursday 26 Sept,  from 11am-1pm, in Undercroft 101 of the Puaka-James Hight building.

For more information visit: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/events/active/uc-events/opening-doors-globally.html or email Vera Leier: vera.leier@canterbury.ac.nz

NCEA Japanese Day biggest ever

Japanese NCEA school day, 8.6.17Client, Rachel Payne, Japanese.

UC hosted a NCEA Japanese workshop for secondary school students on Thursday 8 June. The workshop was attended by 370 students from 15 schools and was the 5th annual event hosted by the UC Japanese programme with support from the Canterbury Network of Teachers of Japanese. The event attracted the largest number of participants since it began in 2013 and is the largest event of its kind on Japanese language education in New Zealand.

Japanese Day Guests
Left to right: Dr Kyoko Mikami, Mr Mitsuru Murase, Mr Tim Williams, Professor Paul Millar, Dr Rachel Payne, Masayoshi Ogino

The day started with a warm welcome from Professor Paul Millar (Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor – College of Arts), and greetings from Mr Mitsuru Murase (Consul, Consular Office of Japan). A special talk was delivered by UC alumni and internet marketing pioneer Mr Tim Williams, on his encounters and experiences in Japan, as well as the skills required for the rapidly changing world.

The secondary school students had three intensive language sessions, with 30 UC students who helped them to learn Japanese as role models and mentors. The feedback was overwhelming, indicating those involved enjoyed their day at UC.