Nā Mātua - Elders Program
Many of the elders in our community live far from each other. Though our elders reside in traditional extended family households, they often spend their days with children and grandchildren who are unable to speak to them fluently in Tokelauan. For some of our elders, the opportunity to communicate easily and freely in their Native language is only possible on special occasions for the community to gather, and as a result many experience social isolation in their own homes. In order to engage our elders and to honor them and their wisdom, the Tele! Project has launched the Nā Mātua Elder’s Program to address issues of mobility and access to the outdoors, to provide regular opportunities for elders to interact with each other, and to provide an opportunity for apprentices and volunteers to improve their Tokelauan language fluency while providing a service to the elders.
Program staff are available to pick up participating elders in Te Taki’s 15-passenger van anddrive them to a designated event where they may be able to visit family members, share a meal together, visit the ocean, or just travel the island to view the sights and have a change of scenery. At least once per month, the Nā Mātua Elder’s Program hosts a multi-generational language
engagement activity for the whole community.