19 May 2011
A one-day national consultation workshop on Cultural mapping, planning and policy in Tonga (polokalama talanga faka-fonua ki hono fokotu'utu'u, palani moe fa'u tu'utu'uni ki he anga fakafonua ‘i Tonga) was held at the Queen Salote College Hall on 19 May, 2011.
This workshop is one of the core components of the Cultural Mapping Exercise that is being undertaken in Tonga by the Ministry of Education, Women Affairs and Culture (MEWAC) in collaboration with the Institute of Education of the University of the South Pacific (USP), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The aim was to encourage key stakeholders from Government and non-government organizations, community committees and civil societies who are cultural experts, custodians of traditional knowledge to play proactive roles, which are critical for the success of cultural mapping exercises.
The Guest of Honour, the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Food and Fisheries, Lord Vaea, former head of Tonga's Tradition Committee and Chairman for the Tonga Culture Committee, keynoted the opening address of the workshop. The workshop was led by briefings from the Committee Secretary, Dr. ‘Ana Haulalofa'ia Koloto , the University of South Pacific's Tonga Campus Director.
Culture is incorporated in the Government's National Vision (SDP8) which focuses on, "creating a society in which all Tongans enjoy higher living standards and a better quality of life through good governance, equitable and environmentally sustainable private sector-led economic growth, improved education and health standards and cultural development."
Over the years, the Ministry try to re-enforce the importance of social cohesion and cultural identity by implementing many strategies to support Government's vision and goal for cultural development.
This includes the Ministry's reviewing of its Education Policy Framework and Corporate Plan to include Language and Culture as one of the cross-cutting themes of the Education Programme.
A continued collaboration with the Tonga Traditions Committee in the maintenance and preservation of Tonga's Cultural Heritage is also a key part of the programme. Other strategies included participation in regional and international culture programs activities and the public promotion of the values and importance of Tongan Culture in the media.
With cultural mapping, one of the key objectives of such a workshop is to bring together people and collectively build up the nation's passion, dedication and commitment to advocate the importance of safeguarding and promote Tonga's unique culture.
Cultural Mapping is now taking place to help the Ministry form baseline cultural data that it could share with the new Government and other policy makers.
ENDSIssued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011