Indigenous Intergenerational Relational Rhythms

Sustaining Tongan Language and Culture Across Time (Tā) and Space (Vā)


  • Telesia Kalavite University of Otago



Tonga, language, culture, identity, intergenerational, tā-vā (time-space), diaspora, Indigenous


This article unfolds intergenerational sustainability and relational rhythms through Tongan language and culture and the interrelationships between older and younger Tongan people and between Tongans and non-Tongans in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ). It also unpacks the interconnected ways in which Tongans as Indigenous people honour the inseparability and sensibilities of knowing–seeing–feeling–doing–being–becoming Tongan across tā–vā (time–space) in language and cultural realities, and their implications on Tongan people’s success in life. I argue that there is still space to strengthen Tongan language and culture through intergenerational relationships between Tongans in loto-Tonga, the motherland, and communities settled in tu‘a-Tonga, the diaspora such as Aotearoa NZ. 

Author Biography

Telesia Kalavite, University of Otago

Telesia Kalavite PhD is of Tongan heritage with over four decades of teaching experience in Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. She is a lecturer and coordinator of the Pacific Islands Studies program at Te Tumu School of Māori Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Her research interests are on Pacific education, culture and Indigenous development, and translations.




How to Cite

Kalavite, T. (2024). Indigenous Intergenerational Relational Rhythms: Sustaining Tongan Language and Culture Across Time (Tā) and Space (Vā). Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 8(2), 636–662.