Revisiting the Tongan co-collecting stories of Project 83: Small Things Matter – Sini Atoa

Revisiting the Tongan co-collecting stories of Project 83: Small Things Matter – Sini Atoa

For Uike Kātoanga‘i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga | Tongan Language Week we take a look at the stories of Project 83: Small Things Matter in a special blog series. This co-collecting project was developed by the Year 13 Tongan language class of Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in 2017.  

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 created a collection of over twenty of their most treasured objects including an original song composition, class photographs and a Tongan brass band uniform.

Inspired by the powerful storytelling on the Facebook page Ordinary Tongan Lives’ we are sharing object descriptions written in Tongan and English by our youth agents every day this week. Today we share the story of Sini Atoa who collected her grandmother’s pillow case and a coconut bag made to commemorate her family reunion.

We acknowledge the generous assistance of Mrs Maata Fusitua who provided editorial support with the Tongan text.

A teenage girl in a school uniform holding a white pillowcase with embroidered flowers on it, standing in front of a dark red wooden wall
Sini Atoa, 2017. Photo by Amanda Rogers. Te Papa

My grandmother’s pillow case 

One of the objects I am giving to Te Papa is a white pillow case hand stitched by my lovely grandmother. On the pillow case she has stitched different designs in bright coloured thread such as blooming pink flowers and cute green hatchlings. Every morning when I wake up to get ready for school she is already up and sewing. My grandmother is 58 years old and she has been doing this for as long as I can remember. If she isn’t sewing then she’s reading her scriptures.

My grandmother is a hardworking woman and is always doing things around the house. I’m surprised that she finds the time to do everything. She is extremely focused when it comes to sewing pillow cases and she loves using bright colours for her patterns. I remember once I asked “Nana, what is that for? Why do you that?” she replied “I’m just doing this so one day when you are married, you can use this for your pillows”. At the time I thought her response was funny but now I cherish her words. This pillow case is a symbol of the love and care that my grandmother has for me.

I have chosen to gift my pillow case to Te Papa because it is a representation of my home and the things I have grown up with. This unfinished pillow case may not seem like much to others but it means the world to me. My grandmother is a talented woman and I want to show this to everyone. I cannot provide much for my grandmother at the moment but gifting this to Te Papa is my way of being proud and grateful for what I have. When I told my grandmother that I am gifting her pillow case as part of this project her face was full of glee and it brought so much warmth to my heart. I love my grandmother dearly and this is all for her.

 

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Ko e tui tangai pilo ‘eku kui fefine

Ko e taha e taleniti ‘eku kui fefine ko e tui tangai pilo. Ko e tangai pilo tui óku ko e taha ia e koloa mahuínga á e fefine Tonga pea óku ne fakaha á e nima meaá mo e talenitiía á e fefine Tonga.

Ko e konga tupenu hinehina, ta ki ai á e tisaini ó e matalaíákau pea óku íai mo e papa tui tangaipilo óku fakamaú ki ai ke mafao pea toki kamata e tui. Óku tuitui nima pe he‘eku kui fefine mo e ngaahi lanu kehekehe ó e filo. ‘Oku ne fa‘a tuitui ‘a e ngaahi tisaini hange ko e matala‘i ‘akau lanu piniki mo e fonu lanu mata.

‘I he pongipongi kotoa pe ‘oku ou teuteu ai ki he ako, ‘oku ou fa‘a sio ki he‘eku kui fefine ‘oku ne ‘a pe ‘o lau ‘ene folofola pea fai ‘ene lotu pea tangutu leva ‘o fai ‘ene tui tangai pilo. ‘Oku ne ta‘u nimangofulu ma valu he lolotonga ni, pea ‘oku ou manatu‘i pe ‘ene fa‘a tui tangai pilo ‘i he‘eku kei si‘i ‘o a‘u mai ki he taimi ni. ‘Oku ne fa‘a talanoa mai ki he taimi na‘e ako‘i ia he‘ene fine‘eiki ‘a e tuitui nima, pea ‘oku ou ongo‘i mafana ‘i hoku loto he sio ki he hoko atu he‘eku kui ‘a e ngaue ‘ene fineéiki kuo mamaó.

Ko e fefine ngaue malohi ‘a ‘eku kui pea neongo ‘ene femou‘ekina, ka kuopau pe ke ‘i ai ‘ene taimi ke fakahoko ai ‘ene tui tangai pilo pea mahino kiate au ko hono taleniti ‘oku manako ki ai. ‘Oku ne sai ‘ia ‘i he faka‘aonga‘i ‘a e ngaahi lanu maama ke teuteu ‘ene tisaini. ‘Oku ou manatu‘i lelei ‘ae taimi na‘aku fehu‘i ai ki he‘eku kui “Nena, ko e ‘ai ia ke ha? Ko e ha ‘uhinga ‘oku ke fai ai ‘a e ngaue ko ia?”. Pea na‘a ne tali mai “‘Oku ou fai ‘eni koe‘uhi ‘e ‘iai ha ‘aho teke mali ai, pea te ke tui ‘eni ki ho pilo ke faka‘ofo‘ofa”. ‘I he taimi ko ia na‘e fakaoli ‘ema talanoa ka ‘i he taimi ni ‘oku ou fakamahu‘inga‘i ‘ene lea. Ko e faka‘ilonga‘i ‘eni ‘a e ‘ofa mo e tauhi ‘oku fakahoko he‘eku kui fefine kiate au.

‘Oku ou kole ki he‘eku kui ke ne ako‘i au he tuitui tangai pilo pea ko ‘ema ngaue ia ‘e fai he tutuku ‘a e ako. ‘Oku ou faka‘amu keu poto he ‘e ‘iai ‘a e ‘aho ‘e si‘i malolo ‘eku kui pea teu hoko atu ‘ene tuitui pea mo‘oni ‘a e lea Tonga, “hoko pe fau mo e fau.”

Na‘a ku fili ke foaki ‘a e tangai pilo ‘o ‘eku kui fefine ki he Mesiume Te Papa koe‘uhi ‘oku ne fakafofonga‘i ‘a e feohi mo e vaofi ‘eku nofo mo ‘eku kui talu ‘eku tupu hake. Ko e tangai pilo ko ‘eni kuo te‘eki ai ke ‘osi. Mahalo pe ki he kakai kehe ‘oku hange ‘a e me‘a ko ‘eni koe me‘a si‘isi‘i, ka kiate au ‘oku fu‘u mahu‘inga lahi áupito.

Koe fefine taleniti‘ia mo‘oni ‘eku kui, pea ‘oku ou fie vahevahe hono taleniti mo e kakai kotoa pe te nau lau ‘eku talanoa ‘i he Mesiume Te Papa. ‘Oku ‘ikai ‘i ai ha me‘a lahi teu lava ‘o foaki ki he‘eku kui ‘i he lolotonga ni, ka ‘oku ‘ou foaki ‘eni ki Te Papa ke faka‘ilonga‘i ‘eku hounga‘ia ki he me‘a lelei kotoa pe ‘i he‘eku mo‘ui. ‘I he taimi na‘aku ‘eke ki he ‘eku kui fefine ke ‘ave ‘ene tangai pilo ‘o foaki ki Te Papa, na‘e malimali lahi ‘aupito pea na‘e fonu hoku loto ‘i he fiefia. ‘Oku ou ‘ofa lahi aupito i he‘eku kui fefine, pea ‘oku ou fai eni ke fakafofonga‘i ‘ene ‘ofa.

Fakamalo foki kia Mrs Fusituá pea mo e kau ngaue ó e Mesiume Te Papa he fakakau atu kimautolu ki he tanaki koloa mahuinga mo e fakahoko homau leo he vahevahe emau ngaahi talanoa.

This text has been edited for clarity. 

 

First post in this series:

A teenage girl standing in front of a dark red wooden wall.
Co-collecting with Tongan youth: Elisapeta Fononga and her Toby’s Seafood uniform

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