Saturday, 15 December 2018

Quick stop to Samoa and back...

Aerial pic of Upolu Samoa
It was so neat to take a short visit to Samoa for a few days to visit family and to check on things and then returned back early this week for my last week of work. 

It's definitely something that my family wants to do more of to keep in close connection with our family in Samoa and especially our parents in their retirement years.

I also really appreciate the airfares being more affordable than a couple of decades ago when it was well over $1K for a return ticket and that's a big thanks to Virgin Samoa airlines that really started a price war that has kept prices at bay for families although often Air NZ is the preferred carrier for many travellers to Samoa.

This trip I didn't get to visit Savaii again but it was really neat in becoming more familiar with the roads and where family members live and in not having to wait for another few years before the pilgrimage back to the motherland.

It also gave me time to write and reflect on some poetry that I'd been meaning to write for the next prose and poetry collection next year. It definitely is a privilege to be able to travel to Samoa and consider the differences that the motherland and culture has to diasporic Samoans living faaSamoa values away from the motherland.

So as the three week holiday season begins for my family, I'm so grateful for the many opportunities that have been brought about to share stories, learn from and consider about the different principles and values that I learned from the faaSamoa to pass on to future generations...

Friday, 14 December 2018

Annual Prize givings and goal making...

This year it was neat to be a part of our lil' one's prizegiving as although she didn't get a class prize she was able to receive commendation for completing her first tryathlon (swim, bike, run/walk) in being the only one to represent the school (she wanted to compete as her elder sisters had done in other schools) and also was one of two students of the school to be published in our latest book as the youngest author.

As for me, I became addicted to winning prizes and would make it my goal as a youngster to try and get prizes at end of the year prize givings be it: school, Sunday school, piano exams etc. I think it might be like the athlete who likes to compete to win.

So although it's not everyone's cuppa tea, I certainly took those ideas into adulthood and continued with collecting degrees, working up through the ranks in the workplace and in a way that competitive spirit has been beneficial for me but I realise that it's different with each child with the talents that they possess.

So for any disappointed parents out there, no worries as not everyone is going to get prizes at prize giving and it really depends on the talents that each child has and how the year went for them in the different prize getting categories.

I'm just truly thankful that I get to spend some neat quality time with each of my children in getting to know how they tick, the different talents they possess and supporting those talents as best I can through clubs or watching something with them or just listening to their dreams, goals and priorities.

The worst thing we can do is to make them feel bad about it because not everyone likes school or even wants to be singled out. I just know that for me, it worked but for my children it's up to them to find out what makes each of them tick with just enough support from me...

Thursday, 6 December 2018

27th Annual Weetbix 'Tryathlon' in Manurewa...

Yesterday, I had the privilege of taking our lil' one to her first 'Weetbix Tryathlon' in Manurewa that comprises of a 50 metre swim, a 4 km cycle and a 1500 metre run (or walk) and she had a ball.

I must say that it is so well coordinated and everything goes by clockwork with different heats all going at the same time and lots of support from families, schools, sponsors for the competitors.

Our lil' one liked it so much that she wants to keep competing and I don't blame her what with all the hype and the neat gear that they get for joining in such as the bag, competing Tshirt, swim cap, golden medal that is received after finishing the event! and lots of games to play before and after the event.

It was neat to see many South Auckland schools join in but like I saw last time, there were so many that didn't and ours being the only one from her school to compete but definitely worth missing a day from school to be a part of something that promotes a healthy lifestyle and I hope she will continue in.

As for the parents, many of us were there cheering the children, coordinating bike dropoffs, gear in the transition areas and general supporting our kids out there.  I would definitely recommend this event to all parents and caregivers for their children as now our older children have neat memories and encourage and have tips for the younger competitors. A day definitely well worth going participating in for all...

Saturday, 1 December 2018

25 days to Christmas countdown...

Image result for 25 days to christmas With just 25 days until Christmas day there's still a lot for me to do before work finishes for the year and children finishing in the next couple of weeks for the Christmas holidays with the local outdoor swimming pools opening today.

Next week I'll also be flying out to Samoa for a few days to check out our build and also see what else needs to be bought. Am also visiting the Mega SSAB store in Apia and other Apia stores to see what household products and whiteware we can pick up instead of shipping from NZ.

However, the most important thing will be visiting with our parents and other family relatives in Samoa during these days. I'm definitely looking forward to warmer weather but not the flies nor mosquitoes and tasting the local foods and especially the fruit such as mangoes, pineapples, fresh bananas etc.

And with some books that I'm currently working on now for launching within the next few weeks, it makes for a busy time with the Christmas rush and just looking forward to a lot of R & R (rest and relaxation) during the Christmas and New Year period which always seems to finish faster than it took to come.

Roll on Christmas in remembering the true reasons for the season...

Friday, 30 November 2018

Building project in Fasito'o-uta, Samoa...

 This year has been one busy year of study and celebration for our whole family with the five of us all in school (the children) and the adults in Wananga (Maori indigenous higher place of learning) and then the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Samoan PIC (Presbyterian Pacific Islanders Church) coming together to celebrate and then two family reunions to attend with one in Samoa and the other in NZ and now supporting a building project in Samoa.

One of the things that we are well aware of is that life for us is only for a short time so that leaving a legacy for our future generations is very important. This particular building project is in my father's village of Fasito'o-uta in Upolu and although this is a more modern house we are looking to have the more traditional fale style built at a later stage.

In my first poetry collection, I wrote a poem about the importance of my father's connection to his parents and I am currently working on my third collection that also discusses that important connection now with his children and grandchildren.

Now looking forward to strengthening those connections and travelling more regularly to Samoa with our children to strengthen those ties and to for them to know where their ancestors came from on both sides.

Also looking forward to blessing the house/fale for our parents, family and visitors but also for future generations to view and know that it was a blessing from God to be connected as Samoans, within the village of Fasito-o-uta....

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Malu lima, Samoan woman's sacred hand tatoo...

I'd like to make a big shout out to Tracie from SSAB (Samoan Stationery and Books) for getting my sister and I in contact with Cliff Cole of Tautua Ink in Avondale regarding a lima malu or sacred hand tatoo for Samoan women.

The first time I noticed one was last year during a community meeting that I attended and the woman who wore it was in her 70s and when I asked her about it, she didn't venture into any details.

Then when I was in Samoa, last July, I became aware of it through one of my sister in laws discussing how many Samoan women from overseas were travelling to Samoa and requesting the lima malu on hand and/or legs.

It reminds me of the taulima (or tattooed arm band or wrist band) in the 1990s and then in the last 5 years the rise and interest of getting the leg malu or original malu on the legs now followed by this new phenomenon of have a malu tatooed on one hand usually.

There is much history regarding the origins of the malu that have been lost in time but some of the iconology that is used still remains the same for example:

  • centipede
  • caterpillar
  • stars
  • jellyfish
  • birds footsteps
  • the sacred womanhood icon etc.
Other icons that have been added onto the traditional symbols are the 'cross' of Christianity, possibly the fish and people icons but I stand to be corrected as well as there is still much for me to learn about this important tattoo for woman.

One thing that I am sure of is that it is an honour to wear it and a very humbling experience as I believe that what a tufuga ta tatau (Master carver) tatooes on an individual is the tatoo choosing the person and not the other way around.

I would also like to ask for women wearing either of the tatooes to remember that one must be cautious and aware of this ancient form of tatoo that carries with it responsibilities and expectations in wearing marks of honour, love, belonging etc. 

One must wear it in a way that is respectful and in humility of not bringing disrepute to it and carrying it appropriately with dignity and mana as the intellectual property does not belong to you but to Samoa.

Definitely something worth considering of not wearing it lightly...

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Celebrating Mangere PIC Samoan groups 50th Jubilee...

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday with a Happy 50th Jubilee Anniversary to the Samoan PIC (Pacific Islanders Presbyterian church) Mangere my birth church.

It was such an important event because as a church they formed together in November of 1968 with my parents being one of the foundation members and one of four families who are still with the church to this day.

My father was also blessed to be one of the last remaining elder Deacons of two other original deacons who was able to see this special occasion come to fruition.

He was also one of the significant people who was able to bring about stability to the Samoan group in it's initial years in bringing families together and sharing the vision of a place to worship with many.

That is quite some legacy as there were some 20 families who joined up at the time but some have passed on with others no longer attending the church but for those of us who have over the years, it has become our village away from the homeland and a place to call home.

It's the place where we are able to come together as a family with spiritual guidance and support as well as a place for rituals to be performed such as weddings, birthdays, religious celebrations like Easter and Christmas etc.

It was a neat celebration service that I was able to attend on Sunday with families wearing a blue and white uniform that was picked out and some neat choir songs that were reminiscent of my growing up days in the choir.

A video then was shown of the families and ministers over the time starting with Rev Sio and Rev Bob Challis who was originally from England and were pivotal in the church becoming what it is today. My father was the origin Samoa group secretary for some 22 years from 1968 to 1990 and still holds the record to this day for his continuous service over the years.

It was then followed by a feast that each family was able to share in and gifts were distributed to the different people who had made a significant contribution over the years. It definitely made me think about the things that God has blessed me with over the years and I thank God for these precious memories to share especially with my parents and something to look forward to for future generations...