Social Science: Being Niuean

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Unit Plan

Social Science: Being Niuean Tony Campbell

Level: 2 Achievement Objectives:


Identity, Culture, and Organisation

Students learn about society and communities and how they function. They also learn about diverse cultures and identities of people within those communities and about the effects of these on the participation of groups and individuals.

Achievement Objectives:
Understand that people have social, cultural, and economic roles, rights, and responsibilities.
Understand how people make choices to meet their needs and wants.
Understand how cultural practices reflect and express people’s customs, traditions, and values.
Understand how time and change affect people’s lives.
Understand how places influence people and people influence places.
Understand how people make significant contributions to New Zealand’s society.
Understand how the status of Māori as tangata whenua is significant for communities in New Zealand.

Key Competencies:

  • Thinking – on my own and with others.

  • Using language, symbols and texts to help me understand more and impart information to others

  • Relating to others – working together in groups.


  • Diagnostic – Mind maps/I wonder wall

  • Peer/Self-assessment

  • Summative – research/Drama project about the day in the life of a Niuean child in Niue or NZ.

  • Teacher judgement


  • Excellence, by aiming high and by persevering in the face of difficulty.

  • Innovation, inquiry, and curiosity, by thinking critically, creatively and reflectively.

  • Integrity, which involves being honest, responsible, and accountable and acting ethically and to respect themselves, others, and human rights.

Cross curricular links:

  • Literacy – Writing and recounting information

  • The Arts – dramatic interpretation / Visual art

  • Technology – building stuff / Using IPADS to research publish and present.

ICT Integration:

  • Google research

  • IPad Sock Puppets/Puppet pals for task two

  • Publish and print

Success Criteria:

  • Show understanding of the Niuean culture through the work completed.

  • Understand that personal responses to events shape the outcome.

  • Use a variety of perspectives to successfully analyse a topic.

  • Present higher order results from research.


  • Selection of books from school, city, or national library – level appropriate.

  • Access to laptop / Ipad devices

  • Guest speakers

  • Craft/Display materials


Learning Outcomes/WALT



Session one

Students will learn the importance of appreciating other cultures in New Zealand.

Understand the terms ‘culture and identity’.

Introduce the unit.

Begin with a class discussion about culture. What is culture? What is identity? What does cultural tolerance mean?

In groups of 3-4, students to create a mind map showing their current knowledge about ‘culture’ and the importance of ‘identity’. Collate all ideas on to one large sheet and come up with a class definition of culture.
Combine all ideas from mind maps on to one large sheet of paper and display in a prominent place in the classroom, so that it can be referred to and added to

Session two

Understand that New Zealand is made up of many cultural groups – such as the Niuean community.

Students will make connections between their own cultures and the Niuean culture.

In their groups of 3-4, students to:

Explore the texts:

Explore the Journal articles:

  • Niuean sports day. Pt 03 No. 3 2001 Pgs 7-9

  • Making Takihi. Pt 02 No. 3 2001 Pgs 12-13

  • Making an umu. YP No. 1 1999 Pgs 20-21

  • First haircut. Pt 04 No. 3 1998 Pgs 44-48

Explore the Youtube clips:

  • Island life on Niue:

  • Niue Village marching:

  • Hunting the uga crab: Niue styles:

Students to list any questions they may like to investigate further. These questions can be placed on the ‘I wonder wall’ – Using sticky notes.

Complete a Venn Diagram and compare: similarities/differences/commonalities, between their lives and the lives of Niuean children. Use this information to create a visual representation of ideas – to be presented to the class.

Session three

We are learning about the history, facts and legends of Niue.

Whole class discussion about what has been learnt so far? What else can we learn? And have we answered any of our questions on the ‘I wonder wall’?

Students have the opportunity to research the Niuean history in their groups using these helpful websites.





A selection of Niuean legends can be found on these websites:

  • Niue Legend of Tokamotua of Tuapa:

  • Niue – Fekai:

  • Mataginifale and the turtle:

  • The Pigeon and the Ant:
Students are then able to employ their creative interpretation skills, and retell one interesting fact about Niue or one legend, suing Puppet Pals, Sock Puppet App or Explain it. These are to be presented to the class.

Session four

Examine the Niuean art form of Hiapo and appreciate the work of Niuean artist John Pule.

Use imagination and invention to produce Niuean pattern designs.

Start whole class by looking into the life of Niuean artist John Pule, who is renowned for his paintings, drawing, print making, Hiapo designs, poetry, film making and performances. A snapshot of John’s works of art can be viewed on the Youtube clip:

Many of John’s art designs are based on traditional Hiapo patterns that are taken from natural/plant shapes. Many of these styled patterns feature on traditional Niuean Mulberry bark cloth fabric. To gain a better understanding of the hiapo designs, students can refer to the book ‘Hiapo’ Past and present in Niuean cloth by John Pule. Alternatively, hiapo designs can be sighted on: or Google images.
Hiapo –Past and present in Niuean Bark cloth. John Pule and Nicholas Thomas

This book provides a detailed look at John Pule’s quest to revive, bring to life Hiapo all over the world.

John Pule also features in a School Journal article:

John Pule. Artist of the Pacific. L4 No. Oct 2012 2-9
To gain a better understanding of the paper mulberry bark paper, watch the following Youtube clip. This clip briefly shows the tapa making process (Tongan) which is the same as making Hiapo fabric.



Hand out examples of Hiapo designs.

Children to create hiapo-type designs with pastels on A4 paper. Encourage students to come up with their own designs, including ones which may have significance to them. Once students have mastered this, show them examples of self-made hiapo designs on dyed (for example tea bags) A3 paper.

Go over process, ideally modelling through creating an example:

  • map out the hiapo designs that you wish to make on your completed work - go back to the sample designs worked on last lesson;

  • select an appropriate dyed A3 paper from those completed earlier;

  • Draw your chosen designs onto the paper with appropriately coloured pastels; try to cover a large amount of the paper. Can use more than one colour; try using white or black; look at contrast against your background colours (experiment on other paper, if need be);

  • Ask students how they think we could get this flat paper to look like the finished product? Show how to scrunch up and how this weathers but also strengthens the paper. Explain this needs to be done repeatedly, and the pastel design can be touched up as needed.

  • Provide sharing time, for students to present their work.

  • Create an area to display these hiapo designs once they are complete.

This lesson may span several sessions.
Time pending students can engage or make contact with local Niuean artists Joshua Blandford and Iata Peautolu. Both are talented painters, drawers, and tattooist. Sample their work, conduct interviews.

Session five

Develop knowledge and understanding of Niuean music
Learn a Niuean song.
Learn about the different types of Niuean dances.

Whole class session around Niuean music and dance. Source the Ministry of Education issued ‘Tau Lolongo Niue ma e tau aoga I Niu Silani Niuean Songs’ pack that contains lists of songs, lyrics and accompanying C.D’s. (These are extremely hard to come by).

Select one song and as a class learn it together. If confident, this can be performed at syndicate assembly or whole school assembly. (It may be beneficial to cover Niuean language features – pronunciation of words prior to this).
Youtube provides a range of clips covering different types of Niuean dance. Students to explore and possibly identify schools in New Zealand that have Niuean dance groups. Time pending allow students to make contact with these schools to gain further insight into the different types of Niuean dance performed at the annual Polyfest – festival.
This website has credible information relating to this subject: and also mentions several schools that have Niuean dance groups.
Students can write letters, email or arrange skype sessions with the various schools (this will require teacher intervention to assist with the process).
Report back to class their successes and or failures with this process.

Session six

Use the inquiry model to help us understand why people make life changing decisions.
Show what we have learnt through dramatic interpretation or other means

Research Inquiry assignment.

Using the ‘considering responses and decisions’ section of the Social Inquiry model, groups can look at the Niuean population from the perspective of those:
Niueans who have remained in Niue or Niueans who have migrated to New Zealand.
This will require in depth, self-motivated research into this inquiry. Add questions to the ‘I wonder wall’ and seek to find the answers.
Guiding questions could be:
Why was the decision made to stay/migrate?

What issues were identified as a result of their decision?

What were the consequences of these responses?

So what? and Now what?

Groups must present their findings as a dramatic interpretation (drama). This will be based on the perspective of a Niuean girl or boy who lives in a Niuean village, or living in New Zealand.

Formulate a story to be acted out telling us about one of the above aspects – Drawing on all the information that you have learnt over this unit. You will be peer assessed. Each presentation is to be 10 minutes long and all students are required to participate.

Some helpful resources:

  • Statistics Niue:

  • Statistics New Zealand: Pacific+Profiles+-+Niuean

  • Population in Niue decreasing:

School Journal articles and stories pertaining to the unit:


Unit reflection / evaluations:

Strengths of the unit:

Weaknesses of the unit:

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