Our last blog in the special series that revisits the stories of the ‘youth agents’ of Project 83: Small Things Matter. This co-collecting project was developed in 2017 by the Year 13 Tongan language class of Sir Edmund Hilary Collegiate.
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.
As a celebration of Uike Kātoanga‘i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga | Tongan Language week we have profiled six of our youth agents to acknowledge their inspiring collecting and powerful storytelling.
In our last instalment we share the story of Maya Taufa. For this project Maya collected her father’s work shirt and a Faka Ha‘apai made by her mother. These objects reflect the struggles and resilience of her family.
We acknowledge Mrs Maata Fusitua who provided editorial support with the Tongan text.
Project 83: Small Things Matter
“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.”
Greetings, my name is Maya Taufa and I am privileged to be a part of Project 83. We don’t often talk about the struggles we experience everyday because we feel embarrassed. For Project 83 I have chosen two pieces represent my struggles. I am proud to share my story because I have learned that we should not let our struggles become our identity. Our ability to cope should not be determined by poverty or not having everyday necessities.
The first item I have chosen is a shirt that is part of my father’s work uniform. It may not seem like much but there is strong meanings behind this this shirt. This shirt is significant to me because it shows what kind of person my Dad is. My Dad is a hardworking and determined father who only wants the best for our family. Although he is not a successful business person he works in a factory like most Pacific Islanders and tries to be successful in his own way. Throughout my childhood only my Dad has been working to support our family as my Mum stopped working when she was pregnant with my siblings. So my Dad has been my hero for my whole life.
This shirt is also significant because every time I see it while doing the washing or when my Dad wears it I am reminded of how grateful I am to have a roof over my head and food on the table. This shirt also represents my family struggles as my Dad has been working in a factory since he moved to New Zealand to start a family. I know he doesn’t like working in a factory but he does it for my family. I don’t need to write a book about my life struggles but just by looking at this shirt I know what we have been through. I know other Pacific Island families who have parents who work in factories can relate to my story.
My second item is a traditional Tongan adornment called a Faka Ha‘apai made by my mother. Faka Ha‘apai are worn to special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and performances. My mother’s Faka Ha‘apai is unique as she uses beautiful colours and ribbon instead of traditional materials.
This Faka Ha‘apai is significant because it also shows the struggles my family experienced. When I was 12 my Mother was working but she stopped when she was pregnant with my siblings and become a stay at home mother. During these years she started to make traditional Tongan items and made all 6 of my siblings a Faka Ha‘apai. The one I am giving to Te Papa belonged to my youngest sibling.
I have learned from my parents struggles. Although my family is not wealthy or own expensive clothing my parents still managed to provide us with an education and this is what I am grateful for. I have learned not to take things for granted and to give rather than receive. The items I have selected tell this part of my story.
My aim in giving these items to Te Papa is that they are kept in the safe hands of the museum. I would like to come down to Wellington with my siblings in a couple of years to see them there as it represents a big part of our family story. I also chose to give these items to Te Papa because I know I am not the only Pacific Islander growing up with struggles. I want to encourage Pacific youth to not be afraid to share their struggles or embrace them because these are the stories that will motivate us to become successful.
Paloseki 83: Koe koloa iiki ka ‘oku mahu’inga
“Ko ho‘o ngaahi tonounou he ‘aho ni, tene mateuteu‘ai koe ki he kaha‘u.”
Malo e lelei, ko hoku hingoa ko Maya Taufa pea ‘oku ou fiefia ‘aupito keu kau ki he polokalama ko eni koe Paloseki 83. Koe taimi lahi ‘oku ‘ikai ketau fa‘a vahevahe ‘etau ngaahi tonounou faka‘api ko e ‘uhinga pe ko e anga ‘o ‘etau nofo fakafamili pe ko ‘etau sio ki hotau kaunga‘api, ka koe ‘aho ni ‘oku ou fiefia keu vahevahe atu ‘a e anga ‘o ‘eku mo‘ui mo ‘eku fakakaukau, mo e ‘uhinga ‘eku to‘o ‘a ‘eku koloa mahu‘inga e ua ‘o fakakaukau ki he Paloseki ko eni.
Ko e ‘uluaki koloa ‘oku ou tuku atu, koe falani ngaue ‘o ‘eku tangataéiki. Ko e falani ko eni ‘oku ‘ikai ke mahu‘inga ia ki ha taha, ka kiate au, koe koloa mahu‘inga ‘aupito eni, he ‘oku ne fakafofonga‘i ‘a e ngaahi to‘onga mo e moúi ‘o ‘eku tangataéiki. Ko ‘ene ngaahi feilaulau ‘oku ne tukuange koe‘uhi ko ‘ene feinga lahi ke tauhi au mo hoku famili. Ko ‘eku tamai pe na‘e ngaue pa‘anga ke tauhi ‘aki kimautolu, kae nofo‘api pe ‘eku fineéiki ke tokangaí kimautolu fanau mo áve ki he ako.
‘Oku ne fakafofonga‘i heéku tangataéiki ‘a e tokolahi mei he Pasifiki ‘i he ngaue he fale ngaue (factory) Koe talu e hiki fonua mei éku tangataéiki mei Tonga ki Nu’usila ni, mo ‘ene ngaue pe he falengaue, neongo ‘oku ‘ikai ke ne ma‘u ha pa‘anga lahi, ka ‘oku oku ne ngaue malohi, íkai ke liáki ngaue, ka fiemaú ke ngaue óvataimi pea te ne fai koeúhi pe ke feau émau ngaahi fiema‘u, mo totongi ‘emau ngaahi mo‘ua pea mo kumi émau meákai ke ‘oua temau fiekaia pe temau mokosia ‘i ha taimi.
Ko e feilaulau ia he íkai ngalo íate au, pea moóni á e lea Tonga, kuo mau taka í fonua mahu he faingamalie ó e ngaue he fonua ni.
Ko e koloa hono ua ‘oku ou tuku atu, koe Faka-Ha‘apai na‘e ngaahi he‘eku fineéki. Ko e koloa ko eni oku ne fakafofonga‘i ‘a e feinga moe lotolahi ‘a ‘eku fa‘e ke tokoni ki he‘emau nofo ‘o íkai ngata pe heéne ngaahi keu tui he taimi óku mau ako faiva ai, ka óku ne ngaahi foki ó fakatau atu. Ko ‘eku fineéiki koe fefine ngaue, talu ‘eku tupu hake, na‘e malolo mai mei he ngaue ‘eku ta‘u 12 ‘o nofo ‘api pe ‘o tauhi kimautolu, pea ne fakakaukau ai kene ngaahi ha‘ane koloa faka-Tonga ‘o fakatau atu ke tokoni ki he‘emau nofo. Ko e Faka-Ha‘apai, koe koloa mahu‘inga eni ki he Tonga kotoa, he koe fa‘ahinga katoanga pe, ‘oku tui he‘e taha kotoa ‘a e Faka-Ha‘apai kiai ko e fakaha ó e fakaápaápa mo e teuteu ke ha fakaófoófa heéte álu ki he kakai. Ko ia naá ne ngaahi ai pe moe Faka-Ha‘apai ‘o‘oku mo hoku fanga tehina e toko 5 mo hoku tuongaz‘ane ‘e taha. Óku mau laukauáki á e nima meaá émau fineéiki he taimi óku mau tui ai á e faka-Haápai. Pea moóni á e lea Tonga, “ko e tama tuú he faé, koeúhinga óku ne fakaámu ke mau ha fakaófoófa maú pe.
Koe feilaulau ‘a ‘eku ongo matu‘a he ‘ikai keu lava ó fakatataua, ka koe me‘a ‘oku ou ako mei ai, ko ‘eku fakamalo mo feinga keu fakafiefia‘i ‘eku ongo matu‘a áki éku tokanga ki he ako mo éku fakaámu keu hoko ko ha neesi í he kahaú. Koe famili kotoa ‘oku ‘iai pe ‘enau tonounou, ka ‘oku ou fakamalo ki he‘eku ongo matu‘a he‘ena tauhi ‘oku fai mai kia kiamautolu ke ‘oua temau nofo fiekaia mo mokosia, kae fakaako‘i kimautolu kemau ma‘u ‘a e poto, na‘a ‘iai ha taimi kemau lalahi ‘o ma‘u famili, ‘oku mau ‘ilo pe ‘a e me‘a ke fai.