When I talked with Akihisa in Nuku'alofa in 2013, he told me that only a few elderly people on Niuafo'ou spoke the pure version of the island's language, though many more spoke a Niuan-Tongan pidgin. Like Maori, the language had been neglected for many years by hostile governments, and mocked by non-speakers. I've recently met a number of Niuafo'ouan Aucklanders trying to relearn their homeland's language and recover its history, and it is exciting to see so much research into the island going online, and thus becoming much more widely available.
I wrote a little about the thousands of Niuafo'ouans still living in exile in the far south of Tonga here.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]