Revisiting the Tongan co-collecting stories of Project 83: Small Things Matter – Elisapeta Fononga

Revisiting the Tongan co-collecting stories of Project 83: Small Things Matter – Elisapeta Fononga

Over the next six days, we’ll celebrate Tongan Language Week by taking a look back at Project 83: Small Things Matter in 2017. This co-collecting project was developed by the Year 13 Tongan language class of Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate with the guidance of their teacher Mrs Maata Fusitua, HOD Lea Faka-Tonga.

Project 83: Small Things Matter enlisted our self-titled ‘youth agents’ to collect objects that represent their lives as Tongan students of Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate and of course as proud ‘Otarians’. In total the class collected over twenty of their most treasured objects including an original song composition, class photographs and a Tongan brass band uniform. Each object was accompanied by a written description in Tongan and English that was used as part of their NCEA Level 3 assessments.

Inspired by the Facebook page ‘Ordinary Tongan Lives’ which has become a popular platform for Tongan stories, we are sharing a selection of our youth agent’s descriptions every day this week. Each description offers a snapshot into the lives and experiences of our youth agents that remind us that objects have the ability to act as a vessel for personal stories and our language.

We acknowledge the generous assistance of Mrs Maata Fusitua who has provided editorial support with the Tongan text. We also dedicate this blog series to the late Mahe Úliúli Haunga the former Chairperson of the Sir Edmund Hillary Tongan Parents and Teachers Association who was a great supporter of this co-collecting project.

Our first youth agent is Elisapeta Fononga who collected her Toby’s Seafood uniform which consists of a cap, shirt, hoodie and name badge.

A teenage girl in school uniform holding a blue cap and uniform, standing in front of a dark red wooden wall
Elisapeta Fononga, Toby’s Seafood Uniform – Teunga Ngaue. Photograph by Amanda Rogers. Te Papa

Toby’s Seafood Uniform

Bible Verse: Psalm 29:11 (Serenity Prayer)
God grant met the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change the
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference

This essay describes the importance of this uniform and the reasons why I am giving it to Te Papa. This essay is about my journey and experience of having a part time job and  the challenges I have overcome. I’ve been working as a cashier at Toby’s Seafood Ōtāhuhu for almost 4 years. Growing up and seeing my parents struggling with their finances to help provide for our family motivated me to work. I was so impatient that I begged my mum for a part time job, which led to me working at Toby’s seafood.

One of the challenges of working and studying at the same time was staying up late to study for school. This was because my working hours were from 7am–7pm. The hours I worked also had an impact on my attendance at school. I started coming late to school due to not having enough sleep. Another difficulty was making sure that my school work was always up to date and not leaving any assignments to the last minute. Out of my siblings who were in college, I was the only one who was working part time and studying at the same time. I knew that this would be difficult but it was the only way I could help my parent’s struggles and needs.

Working at Toby’s Seafood as a cash registrar was a wonderful opportunity as I was able to gain knowledge and skills that will be benefit me in the future. The skills that I’ve gained while working included interpersonal communication skills, customer service skills and the ability to manage time effectively and prioritise tasks. The importance of this uniform is that being a cashier at Toby’s Seafood was my first job and I wanted to value it by sharing my story with Te Papa.

On reflection having a part time job was a great opportunity because it helped me to support my family and no one can take that away from me. Last but not least, I strongly believe that talent and experience is one thing but persistence and trusting in the Lord is everything.

***

Teunga Ngaue he fale ika Toby’s

Ko e taumu‘a ‘eku fa‘u talanoa ko ‘eni, ko ‘eku fiefia keu vahevahe éku a‘usia ki he longa‘i fanauako moe ngaahi famili kotoa pe i he komuiniti, i he founga na‘a ku malava ai keu tokoni ki he ngaahi fiema‘u vivili hoku ki‘i famili. Ko e me‘a mahuinga fekau‘aki mo e kií teunga ngaue ni ‘oku ne hulu‘i mai ‘a e ata ‘o e ósikiavelenga mo e ‘ofa mateaki na‘a ku ma’u ki hoku famili.

Ko e ki‘i fautohi ni ‘oku ha ai ‘ae mahu‘inga ‘o e ki‘i teunga ngaue ni kiate au fakafo‘ituitui mo e ‘uhinga ‘oku ou foaki ai ki he Mesiume Te Papa. Naá ku ngaue konga taimi (part-time) keu tokoni ki he me‘a fakapa‘anga hoku famili.

Na‘a ku hoko foki ko e faifakatau he faleika Toby’s Seafood í Otahuhu, Ókalani he taú é fa. I he‘eku tupu hake naá ku sio ki he faingata‘aía fakapa‘anga ‘eku ongo matu‘a mo e fe‘amokaki e fiema‘u fakafamili. Ko e taha ia e me’a na’a ne fakaloto‘i au keu ngaue. Na‘e ikai keu ma‘u ha fiemalie he tuúnga naá mau íai peau kole ki he’eku fineéiki, ki ha kii ngaue fakataimi o malava ai keu ma‘u ‘a e faingamalie keu ngaue he fale ika ni.

Ko e ngaahi fakafe‘atungia kotoa pe na‘a ku fetaulaki mo ia naá ne fakalotolahií au. Naé pau keu a he po‘uli ‘o fuoloa ke fakakakato eku ngaue fakaako ka e lava keu álu ó ngaue he tuku á e ako.

Fakatautau ki he houa ngaue naa ku ngaue ai, na‘a ne uesia ‘eku maú ako he moúmohea koeúhi ko éku helaía. Na‘e kamata foki keu tomui ki he ako pea ikai keu ma‘u ha mohe fe‘unga. Ko e taha foki e faingata‘a e taha ko e íkai teu lava ke fakakakato ‘eku ngaue fakaako he taimi totonu. Na‘a ku iloi pe e faingata‘a ki he‘eku ako ka koe founga pe ia e taha teu lava keu tokoni ai ki he‘eku ongo matua he fe‘amokaki.

Ko au foki á e fuofua tokotaha na‘e ngaue pa‘anga mo ako taimi tatau he toenga kotoa ‘emau fanau. I he‘eku hoko koe toko taha vete pa‘anga ko ha faingamalie fisifisimu‘a ia kuo u a‘usia o malava ai keu ma‘u ha ngaahi taukei ‘o e vete pa‘anga mo e fai fakatau pea vave éku fikaí e vete mo e lomi ó e misini tanaki paánga pea toe ako‘i au keu faitotonu he ngaueáki pa‘anga. Ko e ngaahi taukei kotoa ko ‘eni naé mahuínga kiate au keu ako pea hange ko e anga éku talanoa fetuútaki mo feohi mo e kau ngaue, tuli taimi mo e faitotonu foki.

Ko ia ai óku loto fiefia lahi ke foaki hoku teunga ki Te Papa ke ne fakamanatu éku ngaue mo ako he taimi tatau. Ko hoku taú fakaósi éni pea óku ou fakaámu keu hoko ko ha neesi he kahaú.

This text has been edited for clarity. 

1 Comment

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    I’ve enjoyed this blog very much.

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