Indigenous | Niue

Revitalisation efforts continue for endangered Niuean language

As part of an effort to revitalise the Niuean language, the Niue Language Commission is working with Te Taura Whiri o te Reo to discuss strategies, including kōhanga reo, dictionaries and online resources.

This morning, members of the commission, led by chair Sifa Ioane, visited Whakaata Māori to discuss implementing media as a primary tool to revitalise their language.

"We are seeing the tremendous progress that New Zealand has made in upgrading, sustaining, and prioritising te reo," says Ioane.

According to UNESCO, the Niuean language is endangered, with fewer than 7,000 fluent speakers in the world, most of whom are elderly.

"A lot of our young people are coming to school without any Niuean language," Ioane says. "It appears English is their first language."

According to last year's Leo Moana o Aotearoa Survey, Niuean participants had the lowest levels of proficiency in listening, reading, and writing among the 3,000 people surveyed from nine Pacific cultures.

"We just want to raise awareness and provide further education to parents to use and sustain the language, as well as more resources for schools and governments to be more committed to culture and language," Ioane says.