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Tui e te ata kua kakau
E laga kita ko te fanau
Aue te alofa te faigata
Tui, (Supreme being, God, Almighty) I rise because of our children,
we must arise because a new dawn is breaking,
Oh, the love for our children causes a deep pain
This Tokelau proverb highlights fakamoemoenga (hopes, dreams, and aspirations) of Tokelau people and their alofa (love) for children. Echoed in the words “auē, te alofa te faigata” – Oh, our endless love for our children causes so much pain, reflects the deep connection that exists between matua (parents) and kau kaiga (the immediate family), and pui kaiga (including grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins, of many generations),that is typical of faka–Tokelau (way of life).
Lealofi Kupa is an experienced early childhood educator, Pacific researcher, storyteller, member of her Pacific kaiga and community. Over the past 30+ years she has been committed to upholding na fakamoemoega, of her parents, family, ancestors.
Her indigenous perspective, as a Pacific researcher, is underpinned by Tokelau philosophical concepts and values. She promotes the concept of ‘inati’ (traditional Tokelau distribution system) in research methodology and practice to ensure equity and social justice.
Underpinning the concept of inati are indigenous values that have been instilled in Lealofi from birth and that she has incorporated in her personal and professional roles to this day, for example, fakaaloalo’ (respect) helps to ensure that she looks for opportunities to share all voices through my practice regardless of age, race, gender, economic status, beliefs, level of education, ethnic background.
Such values also help to ensure purposeful and careful planning occurs throughout the planning and implementation of specific tasks or projects. Fundamental to her practice is ensuring the implementation of the value of `alofa faka-tamāmanu’ (kindness and compassion for those most vulnerable) or in other words is giving of yourself whole heartedly without any conditions or limitations. It recognises and upholds the integrity of all.
"I look forward to the opportunity to be able to share with you all a portion of my inati. Manuia!"
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