A blend of dances, recitations, songs and music, the Lakalaka involves up to several hundred people aligned in rows dancing in rapid and energetic movements. Practised by communities throughout the islands, it features themes related to Tongan history, legends, values and social structures.
The objectives of the safeguarding project are to:
- Document and record information and knowledge about Lakalaka and its practitioners;
- Enhance knowledge, skills and appreciation of Lakalaka traditions, especially among younger generations;
- Raise awareness among the Tongan population and internationally about the importance of safeguarding Lakalaka.
The main activities include:
- Undertake nation-wide field research to record Lakalaka and its practitioners;
- Establish and update a database on Lakalaka and its recognized practitioners;
- Publish a book of Lakalaka texts as an outcome of oral history and archival research;
- Organize capacity building activities such as youth competitions and festivals;
- Promote and safeguard Lakalaka traditions to culminate during the Coronation of George Tupou Von on 1st August 2008.