SPARKLERS / Identity and culture

My Fale

An activity that’s fun and engaging for all students and has a unique Pacific focus – first create your fale (house), then create your classroom’s village!
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki understand and can apply the Fonofale model of health and wellbeing.

Tāngia ēnei tohutohu – Print me

Print oneMy Fale worksheet per student to make a wall display OR if you’re keen to make this more of a craft activity, see our extension below, for an easy ‘how to’ guide.

(If tamariki misplace their worksheet and are working from home, they could draw their own fale on a sheet of paper, and add ideas for each pou.)

He aha ai? – Why we love it

It’s important for Pacific children to have opportunities to see and talk about their culture. Pacific students will be familiar with the terms ‘fale’ and ‘village’ and this activity is all about bringing this special context to you and their peers. The activity firstly reflects on each student’s fale (home) then as a class you’ll create your village which can be displayed and used to discuss positive community features and connections.

Talanoa (talk/explain)

In New Zealand there are two models that use the ‘house’ as a symbol to help us think about our health and wellbeing – the Whare Tapa Whā model and the Fonofale model.

Explain to students that the reason we use these models is that just like a house needs a solid foundation, walls and a roof to be strong, we are strongest when we look after all the areas that contribute to our wellbeing.

As the Fonofale model shows, for Pacific people these important areas include:

  • Our family – as our foundation
  • Our physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing, along with other dimensions like our age, gender and education – as our pou or posts
  • And our culture – as a roof, as these are the values and beliefs that provide shelter throughout our lives.

Give each student a copy of our ‘My Fale’ worksheetand ask them to complete and decorate it, using their favourite colours.

Talanoa post-exercise

What are some of the things you noticed about your fale?

Is it interesting that we behave differently around different people and in different settings? Do you think that is okay?

Sometimes we assume that others hold the same values as we do, but this isn’t always true. What’s the problem with assuming everyone has the same values? How can we remain positive about other’s values when we find out they are different from our own?

Create your village by putting these posters on the wall – or by continuing with the craft activity below. Either way, this is a good chance to discuss:

  • how just like us, our fale are all unique but linked
  • the values our class village might have
  • how we might want to behave towards each other, to create a stronger village.

Invite each tamariki to create and add themselves to your class fale. They could bring photos or create drawings.

A crafty extension!

To make this nice and easy, each student will need:

  • Base: A 10-12cm square of card AND a golf ball sized piece of playdough
  • Pou: 6-8 small sticks, all the same length. These can be collected from outside OR $2 shops have fun options.
  • Roof: Print this on A4 card, and give one circle per student.

To make their fales students will need to:

  1. Flatten their playdough onto the card in a circle, to make their foundation (the card will make it easy to move).
  2. Push the sticks into the playdough so they stand upright, and form a circle.
  3. Decorate, cut out and assemble their roof.
  4. Place the roof on top of their sticks.

Position your fale together in the classroom, or outside. You may like to add some sand or stones to cover the card and give it more of a village vibe.

More like this

Continuing with a Pacific focus, you may like to try Perform It Up - Island Style!


This activity was developed based on the Pacific Toolkit resource created by Angie Taulia Malae from West Spreydon School and the CDHB Health Promoting Schools Team. Big thanks for allowing us to use this work and caring so much about our Pacific children.

We'd also like to acknowledge the amazing work of Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann, who created the Fonofale model.

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