Langa ngāue 'a e kau faiako Akoteu Tonga nofo 'i Aotearoa. Tongan early childhood education: building success from the teachers' perspectives
Teisina, Jeanne Weston Blaser Pau'uvale
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This study contributes to the theorising of Tongan language and culture by exploring the notion of langa ngāue in an attempt to deconstruct colonised thinking and demarginalise Tongan people from colonial ways of knowing and thinking. Langa ngāue is the new context that we Tongan people are now recreating. The importance of ngāue is illustrated metaphorically by its position in the centre of the taumafa kava circle surrounded by all chiefs and nobles in their social orders in the King’s presence. Conceptually this reflects how ngāue is central to anga faka-Tonga and to building a strong Tongan sense of identity. Tongan early childhood teachers who are involved in this study believed that langa ngāue should be based on the ‘core values’ that are important to Tongan people. While the Government in the form of ERO (Education Review Officers) focuses on the products of success as recorded in the official documents, they may not be able to ‘see’ the ‘success’ that made the journey worthwhile, because they do not perceive that it is the values, people and the interdependent relationships with the entire cosmos binding them together which constitute the real ‘success’ within these Tongan ECE centres in Aotearoa. These successes are seldom acknowledged by ‘outsiders’, because they do not ‘see’ the significance of values and culture and the difficulties of maintaining these in a new country. This study is distinctive because it examines the langa ngāue of the kau faiako Tonga and their efforts to establish a degree of control over Tongan curriculum and pedagogy in Aotearoa. No study of this kind has previously been written.