Tongan communities in NZ acknowledge theme during Covid-19

The theme for this year's Tongan language week, by no coincidence, is fitting as New Zealand continues to fight Covid-19.

Fakakoloa 'o Aotearoa 'aki 'a e Lotu Mo'oni, which translates to enriching Aotearoa New Zealand through prayer and faith, was a theme decided upon by the Tongan language week committee in September 2019.

For Dr. Linita Manu'atu, chairperson of the committee, said the term Lotu Mo'oni is more about God's spirit in us.

"With that spirit, people worship God in spirit and in truth and practice God's commandment, that is, love God with all your heart and love your neighbours as you love yourself," she explained.

Manu'atu said her team did not anticipate what was to come this year with the pandemic and acknowledged how suitable the theme was during these uncertain times.

"The theme was announced in parliament last September, so people have started to talk and discuss the theme from the beginning of this year, especially before Covid-19.

"During lockdown, Pacific families have time to reflect critically about themselves and their habits. Lotu Mo'oni is a spiritual concept that begins at home.

"Covid-19 has driven people to change their gregarious ways to focus on the meaning of social relationship. It has shifted people to rethink, retrieve, and renew their relationship with God," she said.