Sunday, 15 September 2019

Pacific Hub in Manukau promo...

This week we decided to take up Pacific Business Hub's offer through Laura Keil-Hall (Director/Manager) to advertise our products (books) at the hub in a glass case display.

In fact, you can check out the Pacific Business Hub's services available for our Pasifika business on their website of

You can also check out their very active Facebook page which is full of informative info regarding their upcoming events and promotions of Pasifika businesses and their products.

When I went to discuss the idea for promoting our books at the hub, I was pleasantly surprised to see the beautiful decor and the tasteful display of Pasifika business products with plenty of floor space for meetings and spaces occupied by Pasifika businesses.

It's definitely a first for our Pasifika communities because apart from the Ministry of Pacific peoples offices and the Pacific Business Trust, there are few places that Pasifika peoples are able to find support for setting up businesses and maintaining them.

I'm looking forward to getting more involved in networking with other Pasifika businesses in that it's good to be strategic in managing our resources and to take opportunities to promote our products and services to and for our own people.

It's definitely a service that is much needed within our Pasifika communities and I thank Laura for her foresight and visionary leadership to seeing this Pasifika business concept to fruition. No doubt, many businesses will benefit from having business and contact with this important business hub...

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel (2017 - 2019) over and out...

Yesterday, I had the privilege of taking our eldest to a luncheon function to celebrate the end of the Auckland Council's Advisory Panels' term.

Featured here is a pic of the certificate that each panel member received as signed by the current Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff and he also gave them out to each of us at the ceremony.

The neat thing was that over this last 3 year period our panel was lead by two committed and amazing leaders: our chairperson, Leaupepe Ralph Elika with Ligi (Caroline) Harris as vice-chair and we were able to learn about and have input into various Auckland Council initiatives from a Pasifika perspective and often advocating (although I'm told that it's not really our job) or voicing concerns on issues that affect our Pasifika peoples.

In the next couple of weeks, we'll be voting on who will be Auckland's Mayor, Councillors, DHB District Health Boards and local Board members etc. These are paid positions for three years and each person elected has a responsibility to represent their elected members and they may also have political affiliations with current political parties i.e. Labour, National, the Greens etc.

That's why it's really important for us to be informed or at the very least to exercise our right to vote for those people who you believe will represent you fairly at these upcoming local elections. By not voting we are allowing those who do to choose who will be our representatives in these important influential spaces.

Already I've already made up my mind to vote for Pasifika representation (and Samoan at best) with the two Autagavaia brothers (Apulu Reece and his brother Taufagaafa Dr Vaaiga ) on the DHB and our two current Samoan Councillors, Faanana Efeso Collins and Alf Filipaina as well as Lemauga Lydia Sosene and others from my local board (some of whom I'm officially related too as well).

And at the end of the day, although few Pasifika people actually choose to exercise their right to vote, the votes are still counted and those who receive the most votes get into these decision making and influential spaces that do have a bearing on Pasifika people issues whether we vote or not...

Friday, 13 September 2019

'Navigating Journeys' upcoming anthology and cover art...

Navigating Journeys (2019) study.
Ink, Watercolours and Acrylics on canvas
I'm so excited as have now booked dates (some tentative) at four local libraries running creative writing workshops for teens. The libraries are:

  • Mangere East
  • Mangere Bridge
  • Mangere Town Centre
  • Otahuhu Toia 
The criteria for the youth writers are for ages 13 - 19 to either: live, work or study in Mangere/Otahuhu geographical areas and the theme for the writing is based around the idea 'Navigating Journeys'.

The deadline dates are very tight so there's not a lot of leeway for me to move with our book launch proposed date being early December but will see how it goes.

The short stories or poetry submissions that I'm particularly interested in publishing for the book is around stories or poetry that resonate with the theme and will also make people think or reconsider things from varying perspective/s.

The above art work study that I developed from the idea of the malu (traditional Samoan's womens tattoo) started with a pencil study, then I added ink to the drawing followed by a watercolour study using a browns palette and then onto an acrylic 'boxed' art canvas in which I wanted to paint the patterns in such a way as to show movement as a necklace, ribbon or sash or even as a superhighway that is multi-directional.

This particular artwork will be at all workshops to hopefully inspire youth writers to share their perspectives, tell their stories that will engage meaningfully with their audience. Again, a very privileged space to be a part of. Thank you God! ...

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Fave Samoan artist, Fatu Feu'u...

Fatu Feu'u the artist. (Photo credits: unknown)
My most fave Samoan artist since a teenager has been Fatu Feuu. In fact, yesterday in my art class I gave a short presentation on his life and art of which I have found so inspiring but never quite understood the motifs until I started studying his art.

The presentation was an assessment that asked students to identify an artist that they were interested to talk about, their whakapapa or gafa (genealogy) and to discuss their art.

Fatu was born in the village of Poutasi in the 1940s and left for NZ in his early 20s with this family. His dream was always to become an artist and his mother supported his dream.

Much of his artistic expressions draw from his roots as a Samoan with much of his works including motifs from tapa and traditional Samoan male tattoo designs/patterns of the pe'a or malofie with his own spin on the interpretations etc.

Unfortunately, he was married and divorced twice as I guess being a struggling artist relying solely on commissions and contracts can be a big strain on family life and the life of being a reclusive artist when big projects are commissioned.

You can see examples of his art all over the place with his works being snatched up by a lot of Auckland companies, government departments and all over the world. Locally, I've seen his work on Auckland library walls eg. Otahuhu Library, Mangere community board office in Mangere Town Centre, University of Auckland Education department etc it was even funny when earlier this year we walked into our local Papatoetoe law office and when I identified Fatu's work on the wall (can't help being a big fan) the lawyer wasn't even aware of how iconic/famous the art is.

In the presentation, I also mentioned that my mum's been my greatest inspiration in art and design as I observed her create and design many things growing up from dresses, bags, necklaces etc. it's a trait that I picked up and continue to enjoy in being a creative...

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Book grant for "Navigating Journeys" accepted...

I'm over the moon again with much thanks to our Mangere Otahuhu local board for believing in us and in granting the funds to publish and print our third installment of community voices 'Mana Mangere writers collective' books.

This time we've changed it up a notch and want to include youth and specifically teenagers who would like to contribute to our new book entitled "Navigating Journeys".

So this time, I'll be running creative writing workshops (first come first served basis) free of charge for interested teens in our local libraries (funded by the grant) with a view to publish a book at the end of the year.

This means again, a bit of running around for me to make things happen at the various locations before the end of the year but that's what makes it really exciting in being hopeful to attract young writers from our local areas.

And so the fun begins and if you know of any teenage writers of either poetry or prose, please pass on the message. I'll have soon have the details for our writing workshops at one of our four local library locations of:

  • Mangere Town Centre
  • Mangere East
  • Mangere Bridge
  • Otahuhu 
Watch this space or contact me on: for further details...

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Beautiful intimate wedding at the Botanical Gardens...

The newlywed couple
I love weddings and today I was able to witness the special day of my youngest brother's marriage to the love of his life and high school sweetheart with both families together at a lovely intimate ceremony in Auckland's Botanical Gardens in Manurewa.

The weather was beautiful and gave amazing photographic moments, in the gardens as we witnessed the exchanging of vows of this special couple.

As it has been long anticipated having been engaged for several years whilst living and working in Melbourne. However, they wanted to return to NZ to have a small, no-fuss occasion with both their parents witnessing and surrounded by families. It was simply beautiful.

For some years previously I've been a wedding florist for over 200 weddings with an online presence but that changed in 2010 after the first Christchurch earthquake as many of my clients had been from the South Island.

And for my special bro and his lovely wife (to be at the time) I was able to offer my services as their wedding planner in organising the wedding venue, the ceremony, decorating the venue, planning the menu for refreshments after the ceremony, a scenic photoshoot in the Botanical gardens, reception, MC (bilingual Master of Ceremonies) being my beloved, clean up at both venues, wedding cake and paying off the bills.

Wow! And the official marriage celebrant was Dianne Troupe, of whom I would highly recommend to all. She was absolutely amazing in the professional ways that she worked with me at such short notice i.e. 2 days before the wedding she was able to share some beautiful vows that were intimate, personalized and "on point" as my sister-in-law described as they brought many to tears. You can check out her webpage on:

And so looking forward to the next wedding that I may (or most likely) not be the wedding planner as I know that we have my cousin's family wedding in Samoa at the end of the month of which I am still contemplating to attend having already been to Samoa twice this year already but then again, I love weddings...

Friday, 6 September 2019

'Take Home Pay' Samoan movie ...

Last night my beloved shouted our family out to watch the Samoan-Kiwi comedy movie 'Take Home Pay'. It's the third movie out by writer and director Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa who self-funded the hit movies 'Three wise cousins' (which happens to be my favourite of the three) and 'Hibiscus & Ruthless'.

It features Tofiga Fepuleai, Samoan-Kiwi comedian debuting in his first feature film. He was the one of two comedians that put Samoan comedy on the world stage with their 'Laughing Samoans' series. There were many different tours and the skits often had us Samoans in stitches, reminding us of some of the antics and idiosyncrasies that Samoans have.

This movie was no different with Tofiga playing the role of a not so smart private investigator trying to help a Samoan overstaying fruit picker to find his brother who has taken off with their hard-earned money. Without spoiling it too much, all I can say is that it has an interesting ending in that money doesn't always buy you happiness and that homegrown ingenuity can sometimes pay with dividends (you'll see what I mean when you watch the movie).

Anyway, it was neat to watch it with a Samoan audience as I could hear people bursting out in laughter at times with the various antics that Tofiga brought in his comedy acting and when things that we Samoan know about - we'd laugh at.

A movie that I would recommend for those who like Tofiga and Samoan-Kiwi comedy or who just want to go out and spend time together with family for some light-hearted humour with still some lessons about how money can't buy happiness and that looking after your family is best...