Strong families

We can draw on our strengths, including our cultural and spiritual identities, to find positive ways of belonging. This can help us to close generational gaps we may have within our families.

“What we have in common is that we’re all Pasefika, we’re people of faith and we want to listen to stories (of families) so we can help them do something about it. It’s great to be able to be alongside so many who are like my parents - selfless and continuously putting others before themselves.” - Ailine Kei 

“Strengthening families with more open communication such as including children in family decision making and discussion is needed. Youth want better relationships with families and friends and want to be heard.” - Wellington Region Pacific Community Leaders Fono 

Cook Islands values and sayings about family

Kia tae ma te meitaki e te tau: To arrive (tae) safely (meitaki) and in peace (au) - Cook Islands saying 

Aere ma te meitaki e te au: Go (aere) safely (meitaki) and in peace (au) - Cook Islands saying 

Kimi I te meitaki e te au: Search (kimi) for safety/goodness and peace (au) - Cook Islands saying 

Akono’anga Māori culture

Akono’anga Māori culture is the expression of knowledge, beliefs, customs, morals, arts and personality. It is both the substance and a set of processes whose primary purpose is to ensure wellbeing, facilitate the practice of respectful relationships and, enable the individual and collective to pursue their aspirations.

Wellbeing is achieved through self-care and the maintenance of familial and community relationships. All members of the kopu tangata have an inherent responsibility for self-care according to their turanga. 10 Ngakau aro’a is its complement.

Fijian values and sayings about Family

"Na noda vakavulici me baleta na kila ka, na vuli vinaka, gugumatua kei na sasaga e tauyavu taumada mai vale vei rau nai tubutubu kei na noda matavuvale. E keda vulica mai kina na talei taka na noda bula, na bula marau, na bula vinaka kei na tiko bulabula." - Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara

"The family teaches us about the importance of knowledge, edcuation, hard work and effort. It teaches us about enjoying ourselves, having fun, keeping fit and healthy." - Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara

Sautu (family wellbeing)

Sautu is about family wellbeing that is self-sustaining and is equipped to deal with issues that are designed to fracture its core. It is about good health, as epitomised in the Fijian greeting Bula Vinaka (Good Health). Sautu is what Fijian families aspire to and it should necessarily be the desired outcome in dealing with issues of violence in Fijian families.


Fijians place great importance on the family lineage and history of which they are a part and which they represent. Having a good kawa speaks volumes about who your ancestors are. It bestows on you an obligation and a duty to uphold their legacy in terms of achievement, behaviour and ongoing interactions. The concept of kawa places boundaries around personal behaviour and family interactions, as what you do reflects on your family’s status.

Kiribati values and sayings about family

Taeka n rabakau: Kateira ma rabakaura bon kinaakira: Our culture and knowledge are our identity - Kiribati quote

Taeka n rabakau: Tai ira te moan ang: Do not follow the first breeze (Do not follow the first impulse) - Kiribati proverb

Taeka n rabakau: Te mauri bwa te tautau: Respecting the guiding hand ensures spiritual protection - Kiribati proverb

Taeka n rabakau: Teimatoan te maiu raoi mani babaaire aika a nikoraoi: The maintenance of wellbeing comes from just and fair decision-making - Kiribati proverb

E tabu te aomata: the person is sacred - Kiribati saying

The story of Ningoningo and Na Rerewa

Kiribati oral traditions acknowledge the ever-present threat of violence; some stories may even seem to normalise it or condone it (Koru and Sullivan 1986). Some stories offer interpretations that point towards protective factors in Kiribati values. 

In the story of Ningoningo and Na Rerewa, which is well known across different islands, a couple is said to have had 10 or more children. When the husband, Na Rerewa, goes out fishing for his family, his wife Ningoningo and the children are terrorised by ghosts who demand a child for their dinner.

Each time Na Rerewa returns from fishing, he finds fewer and fewer children. In the version recorded by Koru and Sullivan, Na Rerewa is angry with his wife for sacrificing their children to the ghosts, but instead of taking his frustration out on her, he exchanges places with her, sending her fishing and staying home himself, and disguising himself as her.

When the ghosts come to demand another child, he refuses them and when they threaten to eat the person who they think is Ningoningo, he reveals himself as a man, and slays them with his sword. (Koru and Sullivan 1986: 5–8)

From a traditional perspective, Na Rerewa can thus be understood as a man who is willing to provide for and protect his family. Through a modern lens, we might see Ningoningo as perhaps suffering from postnatal depression or the stress of having so many children, and Na Rerewa tries to alleviate some of the pressure on his wife in the process of confronting the ghosts.

Niuean values and sayings about family

The magafaoa (family)

The magafaoa (family) is the centre of Niuean life. The head of an extended family is usually a man. Families care for older family members. Aunts and uncles share the rearing and discipline of children, who are expected to be obedient, polite and honest and to assist with housework. Family members share the work of preparing for special occasions. (Niue,

Vahā loto mahani mitaki: conduct and behaviour that is good; appropriate; proper

Agaaga fakatupuolamoui: through the proper conduct of one, the spirit of the other is encouraged to grow and flourish developing trust

Kau fakalataha: unity and cooperation

Vagahau Niue: language

Fakatapu: to make sacred and spiritual; forbidden

Institutions of influence – magafaoa, maaga and Fale Tapu

Samoan values and sayings about family

‘O Au o Matua Fanau - Children are the precious offspring of parents’ - Samoan proverb

This proverb likens children to an internal organ, the liver, a vital part of a human being’s system. The word au means the liver of an animal or human being. Just as a person needs to protect and care for his/her liver, so the parents are to care for and protect their children. (Rev Nove Vailaau, A theology of children)

‘O fanau a manu e fafaga I fuga o laau, a o tama a tagata e fafaga I upu – The offspring of birds are fed with nectar; the children of men are fed with words’ - Samoan proverb

This proverb recommends that parents teach their children with words (upu), which implies face to face conversation; not through smacking. The comparison to the feeding of young birds with nectar suggests teaching children with warm words, encouraging the development of wisdom and strength. (Rev Nove Vailaau, A theology of children)

Tōfāmamao: the critical wisdom and vision of ‘āiga and communities

Vā tapuia: the sacred spaces of covenantal relationships between members of ‘āiga

Fa’asinomaga: ‘āiga, nu’u, fanua and matai, titles from which individuals claim their belonging and identity

Faiā: genealogical connections, and kinship ties by affinity

Fa’aaloalo: behaviour and language that honour vā tapuia relationships

Āiā tatau a le tagata Sāmoa: the rights of all Sāmoan people and especially women, children and the elderly who are to be respected according to fa’a Sāmoa

Tokelauan values and sayings about family

Faka-Tokelau: the Tokelauan way of life, is centred on family and community.

E i mua lava te fakanauga: What you wish for, will come - Tokelauan saying

Toto hau tokiga nei, aua na tupulaga e fai mai: Plant a seed today, for our future generations - Tokelauan quote

Alofa fai tamāmanu: is compassion shown towards the most vulnerable members of kāiga. The beliefs and practices surrounding inati exemplify this concept in the distribution of fish to ensure that all members of the village receive an equitable share of food resources. In this way alofa fai tamāmanu is shown, especially towards those without kāiga and with no connection to fenua, those experiencing suffering and difficulties, and those who are unable to take care of themselves without support.

Vā feāloaki: is the continuous establishment and maintenance of relationships. Vā feāloaki describes and represents the different and special connections and relationships that family members have to each other.

Fakaaloalo: is translated as respect, but its meanings are more complex. One example of fakaaloalo is the ‘respect’ given to the Tautai (expert fisherman) leading his fishing expedition. In return the Tautai, in his alofa (love and compassion) and fakaaloalo towards his companions, shares his expert knowledge of skills in fishing methods.

Fakahoa lelei: is the spirit of fairness by which everyone is apportioned their equitable share of fish under the inati system. The fair and equal distribution of fish means that the needs and wellbeing of every person in the kāiga are considered to be important.

Tongan values and sayings about family

Fofola e fala kae talanoa e kāinga is a metaphor of which one underlying meaning is an invitation to family members to come together and talanoa – to talk. The desired outcome from this talanoa is the maintenance of wellbeing, or to end violence and return to wellbeing and fāmili kaukaua mo kaukauola.

Faka’apa’apa: acknowledging and returning respect

Anga fakatokilalo/loto tō: humility (evident in being teachable)

Tauhi vaha’a/vā: keeping the relationship ongoing, alive and well Mamahi’i me’a: one’s loyalty and passion.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2

Si’i ‘ofa’anga, ‘oku ou hufia koe ke ke tu’umalie ‘i he me’a kotoa pe, Kae’uma‘ā ke ke mo’ui lelei, ‘o hange ko e tu’umalie ‘a ho laumalie. 3 SIONE 1:2

Tuvaluan values and sayings about family

Ulu kite fatu e malu ei koe: shelter in the rock for your safety - Tuvaluan Proverb

Kaaiga (family)

Kaaiga (family) plays an important role in Tuvaluan society. The kaaiga in Tuvalu includes the extended family and kinship groups. Fale (households) may comprise more than one nuclear family and members of the extended family.

If the kaaiga is functioning well, the health and wellbeing of its members and the wider community are less likely to be compromised, and the foundation for strong communities is maintained.

The household is headed by the pule, who is usually the eldest active male resident in the household. The pule is the main decision-maker. Each member of the kaaiga has a role to fulfil. The traditional role of women was to look after the children, prepare food, fetch water, undertake housekeeping, weave mats and baskets, tend animals, and participate in church and community activities.

It is normal practice for family members to come together daily for evening devotions. This is also a time for the kaaiga to catch up and discuss matters of interest, to address any developing conflicts within their household, and to address any issues of alcohol and drug abuse within the kaaiga. It is in this environment where, under the direction of the pule, everyone learns the division of tasks.

In many kaaiga the decision-making process is the responsibility of the adults (especially the males), with the final decisions made by the pule. Nonetheless, all family members participate in the implementation of decisions.