Friday, 27 February 2015

Retro Nostalgia

My mum had a set like this back from the 1960s early 1970s
Museum memorabilia from different eras
One of the neat things about visiting the museum was that there was some different displays that reminded me of when I was a child i.e. I remember back before cans of drink were produced that we only ever drank from glass bottles and we used to collect the bottles then for recycling with money received.

The dinner set on the right was one that my mum still has a few plates left. My retro collector and expert sister says that they're now a collectors' item and I particularly remember them as the yellow knobs reminded me of egg yolks as a child and I wondered why the designers did that.

Other items of interest I also remember seeing at the Maritime Museum but that is another story and I haven't visited there in a few years but it is interesting that there is a big interest with people in their 20s and 30s of the retro era which was the 1950s to 1970s roughly before I was born and when I was younger.

It's neat that such things get displayed for nostalgic reasons but also for an understanding of what was prevalent in that time and place, triggering memories for those of us who were around at the time and a learning journey for our children and generations to come...

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Auckland Museum Visit

Auckland Museum South Entrance near field

Close up outside Southern Entrance
Visited Auckland Museum recently with my daughter and had a great time viewing the various displays. It was quite busy with many tourists from an overseas Cruise ship, other schools and various other international visitors as well as locals like us.

We were able to view the "Wearable Art" section which was quite fascinating with all the various costume ideas that people had designed and some designs were especially sophisicated with some outfits made out of plastics, wood, wire etc. with some amazing colourful designs.

We also got to view the Maori cultural show which was quite entertaining in showing various performances that were indigenous to Maori like the poi, taiaha, sticks etc. I liked the way that they were very informative of the various movements that were made and the 'warriors' were quite funny and the 'maidens' lovely as well as their voices and dances.

We got to get a full view of each of the floors although somewhat brief but I think my favourite sections still including: Centennial street which was sign posted as 1886 Auckland; I like the Volcano simulation which reminded me of being in Samoa during the 2009 Tsunami in Samoa; I also liked the interactive sections for children i.e. "The wierd and wonderful", "Oceans" section etc.

There was also a section on the relationship between Samoa and New Zealand early in the colonial history that Samoa shared with New Zealand. I didn't really get to view it in detail and may try and get back out there again to do a bit of research on what interesting facts I can learn from that period.

I would definitely encourage local Aucklanders to take the time out to view some of the current exhibitions. I think it's free to Aucklanders but a donation is always helpful but you do have to pay for some of the shows. I'll keep posting up some of the exhibitions that were particularly interesting in the coming days...

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Lunch out with my family 
Lagoon park after lunch
It was a real privilege to be able to go out to lunch with my parents from Samoa and our lil' family. We don't often get time to go out together but with my parents on holiday we thought we'd take the opportunity to spend time together.

Am also hoping to have my first of many books to be launched before they return to Samoa with each book acknowledging the tremendous influence that they had on me growing up in Mangere as a NZ Samoan. I am blessed and privileged to have had them as parents growing up and I thank God for every day with them.

Our children have a combination of names of our parents as we do from our families and I hope to pass on the legacy of the Samoan and Christian values that my parents passed onto me and their parents passed to them so that following generations can continue the legacy that was started many years ago before we were even born.

The lagoon park was also refreshing after lunch as I remember, as a child, my dad taking us to beaches and parks after work or in the weekends or during the holidays. It's something of a tradition that we continue with our family today too. Thank you God for the blessing of a loving family...

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Day 1 Aganuu Samoa class, 18 Feb 2015
Was very blessed last night to attend our first of 10 weeks aganuu Samoa classes hosted by Tanoa'i Michael and Tu'u'u Mary (my beloved's cousin) at Martain Hautus, Onehunga. Both amazing presenters who teach with a lot of passion and humility. It was such a privilege to attend with the many others who shared their reasons for attending. For me I was in tears because it's been something that I have grappled with for over 15 years.

I shared with the class about how in the year 2000, I received my matai title of Faalavaau with a saofa'i (kava ceremony) in Siufaga, Falelatai my dad's village in Samoa.A few years earlier my dad had approached me about another title but I wasn't interested at the time with my attention on my career with no need for a matai title. It wasn't until my dad was very ill that I knew that if anything happened to him that family would ask me to consider it and then it would have been too late.

So when my dad asked again, I agreed and we made preparations. My parents left first with my little sister and I arrived later (a day after meeting,unbeknownst to me, my husband to be). Afterwards upon arriving back in NZ, I asked my dad for what I should learn and he said that I didn't need to worry about anything and later he explained that I just needed to listen and observe as he had learnt.

I could understand Samoan well but not the metaphorical Samoan chiefly language that was often used in matai settings that I would attend so I pretty much gave up. However, after meeting my fiances and later husband's family and they would greet me with respectful terms, I would be so embarrassed and ashamed because I didn't know what to say in reply and have been silent for many years.

But finally last night, I felt released from my fears as I began to learn about so many of the things that I have wanted to learn. It's difficult for my parents because like many pioneering immigrant Samoan parents at the time, it was to assimilate and many saw education in English as a key to success. My dad never did want us to speak English at home but then in not learning Samoan formally English easily took over as my preferred language. It was sad to think that I had degrees in English but not in my mother tongue.

Now in this class, I feel that I can finally learn about some of the missing pieces of my culture as a NZ born/raised Samoan and I don't feel as lonely in many sharing the same feelings of alienation to  our own culture and also now realising that many of our children, our next generation, are also going through similar experiences unless we are able to somehow stem the tide.

This class gives us hope but even more, it gives us much needed knowledge and is a practical course that stretches us to learn our faaSamoa with an understanding from the English translation. I would highly recommend this class to all NZ/Aussie born or raised Samoans. After the 10 weeks I think I will never be the same. Thank you God for this privilege and God bless the team who're putting it together.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Opening new virtual shop at Etsy
Launching new shop with Etsy on:
I am so excited! I have just launched my new 'virtual' shop under the name 'Pacific Hibiscus' with "Etsy" yesterday on Valentines Day 2015 (15 years after my first date with my then to-be husband) ha ha. You are most welcome to browse and have a look around. There's so much still to do with revamping the listings and adding new ones daily. It's a place where I can share my artwork with the world and also launch my upcoming books.

Yesterday, on Valentines day, it was neat to open shop, then launch and with the celebratory occasion of a Valentine's day lunch date with my beloved, our children and my parents at the Valentines Restaurant. We then went to the lagoon park not so far from the Restaurant and enjoyed our time by the sea under the shade of nearby trees with a gentle breeze.

Exciting times are ahead with the anticipation of a two books currently under production and hoping to have an announcement in the next couple of months. It has been a slow and tender process in stretching my learning in the art of self publishing and understanding something new everyday in the process. May God bless the journey ahead...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Quick Trifle Recipe for Valentines Day

A Happy Valentines Day Recipe
My Granma, in my teens, showed me how to make a trifle and this recipe I've perfected over the years to my own taste and quick to complete. Funnily enough, I hadn't made trifle in years as my elder sister starting making it for family occasions and so I didn't need to make them. This recipe also includes quick hints from her and have added them to my recipe.


Sponge cake
Jam (to taste)
whipped cream
ready made custard in cartoon
1 can of peaches
1 can of pineapple
1 can of mixed fruit
kiwi fruit
chocolate flake/100s and 1000s

a) I use a medium sized glass bowl and add a layer of cream to the bottom
b) I then will surround the side of the bowl with a line strawberries so that you can see layers of the trifle filling from the outside with cream surrounding it.
c) I spread jam over the sponge cake and then tear the sponge to add a layer of the cake on top of the cream (jam side up). You can see the sponge layer also on the side of the bowl.
d) I then sprinkle a can of mixed fruit on top of the sponge and wetting a little with the syrup from the can but not too much. I make sure that there is a layer of fruit showing from the bowl's side.
e) I then add a layer of custard across the top ensuring that you can see the layer on the bowl's side.
f) I add a layer of peach on top and on the bowl side.
g) I add another layer of jammed sponge across the top and on the side of the bowl.
h) Keep adding layers of jammed sponge / cream or custard / fruit until you get to the top of your bowl.
i) cover the entire top with cream.
j) decorate to taste with cut strawberries and kiwifruit, 100s and 1000s or chocolate flake. I have used marsh mellows here for my middle child's recent birthday.
k) Wa Lah!

If you do try out this easy trifle recipe. Please do add comments.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Waitangi weekend and visit to our 95 year old Granma

Our lil' princess, my sister at our visit to Granma
Over Waitangi weekend we had a very special visit with our 95 year old Granma. She is very special in our family as she is the last of her generation born 1919 in Samoa and has shared with me so much over the years about earlier days. She even remembered that Waitangi day was a day that Maori celebrated as a special holiday that is in fact now celebrated for all New Zealanders.

I feel blessed that my children have gotten to know their granma as I never got to meet my maternal Granma and middle namesake Faamotu of whom I wrote a poem about (to feature when my poetry collection is published) and the same for my maternal Great Granma Eleni of whom I was named after as Helen. No photos survived from either of their years, a zero carbon footprint.

We were able to laugh together, especially as my Gran loves to 'egg' my lil' sister on about listening and helping me with my children as a young and single woman. She also spoke about never smoking throughout her life and not drinking (alcohol). She is quite inspirational as her faith in God is deep and strong and loves praying with us.

I remember how she travelled with me to Samoa for a few weeks and financially supported me with the airfare, back in 1988, it assisted me in collating information for my fieldwork for my first Masters degree. We lived on her family land near the town of Apia in Matautu and I would walk into the town regularly in the mornings to research in the Nelson library. It was also through her contacts that I was able to visit Falealupo in Savaii and gather ancient stories from Aeau, a high chief from that village, for my thesis.

I have a lot to be thankful for in my supportive family and I hope that I can be a blessing to her as much as she has been to me over the years. I also hope that I can be of service to my family as one of the important Samoan proverbs is "o le ala i le pule o le tautua" which means the way to authority is through serving (your family etc.) and my granma, the matriarch of our family is a good example of that to us.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

"Heaven is for Real" short movie review - highly recommended

Another very interesting Christian movie based on a best selling true story book called "Heaven is for real" (2014). Tells about a young boy who has a near death experience and he begins to tell his preacher father about it. Gets real interesting as he reveals what he saw and the details which threatens to polarize family members, members of the church and the community at large.

It also poses the question about whether you believe that heaven is for real and who you would like to see there as well as unborn babies being in heaven with no 'old' people as age is not a factor. I'd highly recommend this movie to view with your family and to ask the question as to where you fit in the spectrum of those who have heard his story. It's funny too that towards the end of the movie, the church which had been flailing is full to the brim with people wanting to know more.

I know that for me, I believe that there are some special family members that I've never met before that I'd like to meet, like my namesakes and generations before who have shared the faith legacy that I never got to meet as well as those whom I loved so well but have passed away to the next gateway. I wonder if we would live our lives differently if we knew that heaven was for real because it's not easy to get there.