November 25, 2022

Article: Tongan Phrases you can use in your Classroom

Talofa lava, Mālō e lelei and Warm Pasifika greetings to you all.

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is the Crown’s principal advisor on policies and interventions aimed at improving outcomes for Pacific peoples in Aotearoa. Language Week celebrations had their origins in Samoa in 2007. In 2009, the Humans Rights Commission came on board and the concept of Pacific Language Weeks was born. Since 2010, the Ministry of Pacific Peoples has been supporting Pacific Language Weeks, promoting and raising awareness of the diversity of our Pacific Languages in Aotearoa.

In this article we will look at simple Pasifika phrases you can use in your classroom with your learners. Tongan language week is from September the 4th-10th of September, the theme for Tongan Language Week 2022 is: Ke Tu’uloa ‘a e lea faka-Tonga’ ‘i Aotearoa, which means “Sustaining the Tongan Language in Aotearoa”.

We have our first lot of Musical Elements translated into Samoan, Tongan and Fijian. Thanks to Glenn Stanbridge for the original document, Sharon Ledua for the Fijian translation and Sola Vuna for the Tongan translation. Cook Islands Māori, Niuean and Tuvaluan are still in the process of translation and will come out in our next edition.

Mālo ‘aupito
Anne-Marie Lalakai

Here are some Tongan phrases you can use in your classroom:


Tongan English
Mālō e lelei

Mālō ‘aupito

Ko hai ho hingoa 

‘Alu ā



Fanau ako


Taimi ako

Pō Ako


Thank you very much

What is your name?






Time to learn



Here are some phrases in Cook Islands Maori and Samoan you can also use:

English Cook Islands Maori Samoan Fijian

Thank you

What is your name?

Good bye


Kia Ōrana


Ko’ai tō’ou ingoa?

‘Aere rā


Tālofa lava


O ai lou igoa?




Vinaka vaka levu

O cei na yacamu?

Ni sa moce


Musical Elements


Musical Element Tongan 
Timbre Anga ‘oe le’o/ongo
Tonality Fakafuo
Rhythm Tā & Vā
Dynamics Tainēmiki (Faka’ilonga le’olahi moe le’osi’i)
Form Fa’unga
Texture Fōtunga
Melody Afo/Fasi
Harmony Afo potupotu tatau


Musical Element Fijian 
Timbre Rogo ni sere
Tonality Rogo ni vakatagi
Rhythm Veilutuki ni rorogo
Dynamics Vadagu ni rorogo
Form Tuvatuva ni sere/dua na tiki ni vakatagi
Melody Tuvatuva ni rorogo
Harmony Sota ni rorogo/domo


Musical Element Samoan
Timbre Lanu
Rhythm Taimi
Dynamics Leo tele ma le leo itiiti
Form Ituaiga o pese
Melody Fati
Harmony Tufa’atasiga o leo

BIO: Anne-Marie Lalakai, TIC of Music at Wesley College, Paerata, Auckland. I am of Samoan and Tongan descent, I grew up in Dunedin and my passion for music was ignited by my high school music teacher. I have been a music teacher for 11 years, mostly working in South Auckland Schools. I am a double bassist and pianist by trade and thoroughly enjoy working in the classroom with young budding musicians.

Browse News

Browse Resources

Academic Areas


Upcoming Events

View all upcoming events