Monday, 27 April 2015

Aganu'u Samoa 101 Fiafia Nite (Graduation)

Aganu'u Samoa 101: Fiafia nite at Martin Hautus, Onehunga

with my beloved after on stage performance

 What a blessing, a very full on weekend and now able to relax and reflect on what was learned over the past 10 weeks with our Aganu'u classes. I now know (with still more practice) in the Samoan language of:

  • folafola to'ona'i
  • folofola sua
  • pa'ia Samoa potopoto
  • a brief faafeiloa'iga
  • a brief introduction of myself
  • my dad's families faalupega of: Si'ufaga, Falelatai and Fasito'o
  • my mum's families faalupega of: Fale'ula
Leading up to the night, I could deliver my speech at home but on stage - I'd go blank but on the night with the help of my husband we had a great night. He did a great job with his lauga/speech and shared a few tears in now finally being able to learn what hadn't been passed on.

It was a night of celebration for all our class from different corners of Auckland but all with the one goal of learning 'meaSina o Samoa' or treasures/most important aspects of Samoan culture, complete with a to'ona'i feast for all our guests.

Many families were present but as my parents were in Samoa and Fritz's overseas too we were able to share the occasion with our children. In fact, Fritz has now started teaching the folafola to'ona'i with our children and my sister Maria has jumped on board too. 

Our thanks go to our two facilitators: Fetalaiga ia Tu'u'u, Apulu Mary Autagavaia and the founder of the class Susuga o Taoana'i Reupena who is one of the leaders of a Catholic youth group who under the blessing of their Parish Priest have developed these classes that are now running all over Auckland, in Melbourne and more sites in Australia to be confirmed.

It wa a true honour and a blessing to be a part of the class and would highly recommend it to those who are considering to reclaim their Samoa identities. With it's principles of: new evangelism and passing it forward we learnt things that we had missed out on learning as first generation NZ Samoans. 

As a result, Fritz is really keen to run some classes in the community to also pass it forward. Watch this space for further information for those who would like to be a part of classes run in Mangere....

Saturday, 25 April 2015

ANZAC Day - Lest we forget

This ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corp) is quite a contrasting day with a fiafia night tonight in celebration of a graduation of sorts after completing the Samoan classes that ran last term and this morning's somber remembrance of the NZ troops and allies who fought in WW1, WW2 and other wars around the world who gave their lives in the name of peace.

My middle 10 year child, as part of a school project, last night completed a remembrance scene with the words "hope, love, anzac, peace and no war". It was in remembrance to her that not only were there many soldiers who were killed outside in the war zone but also people died in hospitals. She also wanted to acknowledge the nurses many of whom gave of their lives to support and assist in the giving medical attention to those who were wounded in war.

In New Zealand. there are commemorations all over the country in remembrance of 100 years since the Gallipoli landing of NZ and allies troops in Turkey. I understand it to have been the "killing fields" and a slaughtering of many who died with all odds against them. It's a sobering time to remember how many fought and died for the peace that we have today.

Tonight, I look forward to completing and delivering a short speech in Samoan acknowledging my faalupega (honourary family titles a genealogy of sorts) for both my parents with my husband by my side completing his with the addition of an example of a faafeiloaga or welcoming speech. I'm looking forward to when my delivery is over and I won't have to keep reciting it but it has been a wonderful journey to learn the things that I always wanted to know about my Samoan heritage - lest we forget!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Aganu'u Samoa clas prep

Aganu'u Samoa classes - only 1 more week to go to Fiafia Night
It has indeed been a privilege to attend these classes for the past 10 weeks (although I was absent for 3 of them with babysitting). I remember the first class in which I couldn't stop being teary eyed as it had been a wish for me for so long to have learnt the faaSamoa in an authentic setting but taking into consideration being born and raised in New Zealand and for me, this class was a blessing in many ways.

Firstly, it was bilingual so that many of us who were NZ born were able to discuss ideas and ask questions without feeling ashamed of not knowing. And it was a blessing to have 2 matai (chiefly orators) facilitators: one was a young male,  NZ born and raised and a mature woman born and raised in Samoa but has lived in NZ and has grandchildren and very understanding of the NZ contexts for NZ born Samoans.

In the 10 weeks leant I: folafola toona'i (announcing to guests that the meal is ready for them in traditional Samoan way); folafola sua (being able to thank guests who have bought gifts usually of food); faafeiloai (formally welcoming guests to a special occasion in a church setting) faalupega of my mother and father's immediate villages (honourific titles given to respective villages) and am beginning to have an understanding of Samoan lauga (oratory speech making).

Next Saturday my husband and I will be attending a graduation of sorts for those who have completed the 10 weeks with live sessions whereby we orally present the information back to our class with our own personal village settings taken into consideration.

It has certainly been a humbling experience and also a huge learning curve whereby I feel more confident in my knowing as a NZ born Samoan. I would definitely recommend these classes to any NZ raised or Aussie raised Samoans who feel the need to connect back to their cultural roots. Next week, I'll be reciting my parents faalupega, delivering a faafeiloai speech and then also addressing the matai titles of Samoa. A privilege in which I thank God for such an amazing opportunity....

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Hamilton and Pasifika learners

First Author Assembly with "Rise Up Academy"
 For the last couple of days I've been driving too and from Hamilton, with a colleague, to discuss a pilot programme with Pasifika and Maori Literacy and Numeracy facilitators.

It was a good time to reflect on Pasifika learners and the journeys that we had been both as Maori and Pasifika learners and now as educators.

We shared stories about how difficult it was "back in the day" to feel validated as Pasifika learners and that we didn't quite 'fit' into the square holed curriculum that was taught us. There was a lot of laughter and a few tears of educators recalling some of the funniest and sad moments of their journeys.

In retrospect for me, despite the flaws in the system, I was blessed with parents who knew about the value of education and now I feel it is my time to share some of those blessings with others and especially our next generation which brings to me to the learners of today.

These pics are of my first assembly where I had the privilege of gifting the book "Sina and the Tuna" to the principal for the children via my daughter who attends the school. The school is only in its second year of operation as a charter school and I had the privilege of watching it grow from parent workshops to a stand alone school today.

It's for these children and many more that I hope to gift my many stories to. Most of the students are Pasifika and Maori at the academy and are my target audience for many of my stories. For some, education has been not only a challenge to the children but also to their parents.

In validating out cultures, I believe that with more literature and discussions that support the values of being Maori and Pasifika that our children will learn not to leave their cultures at the doorstep of schools but to see their backgrounds as an intricate part of who they are and what they can achieve especially if educators are able to embrace these beautiful cultures into their teaching curricular.

It was good to have time to reflect as a Pasifika educator in Hamilton, on my journey in the New Zealand education system and to reflect on how we, as successful Pasifika educators, can now encourage success for our children and the next generations...
More students from Rise Up Academy - Years 1 - 8

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Second limited edition print run

Hope you all had a blessed Easter as I did with my family.

Some good news is that we are going into the second limited edition print run for "Sina and the Tuna" as word is getting around about the first book in the series of myths and legends from Samoa. We have decided to keep the advertising limited at this stage as there are many books to be published in different genre.

Have already started marking up the boards for painting the boarders for the second book and it will be a little different in that will be considering a different format but similar styling. So that you will see similar elements to each book that will be styled individually according to the content of each story.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of  "Sina and the Tuna" please email me at: as there are many books yet to come and being self publishing and self managing means that we only have limited funds for each print run before going onto the next project unless there is bulk orders or enough interest to sustain a second print.

Also hoping to get the next book ready for launching on Samoan language week at the end of next month so it should be interesting in how the book unfolds. You are most welcome to keep in touch as we also have a first play to print but will be deciding on the timing for that book.

Interesting times ahead and looking forward to what the future holds. Enjoy your week!...

Friday, 3 April 2015

Easter Friday

 Easter Friday a day for reflection
 Each Easter Friday it's a time for reflection for my family and I as we consider the bigger picture of life. For me, I was brought up in the Christian faith and continue to uphold those values in my family's life. I am so grateful for a God who is able to have a personal relationship with me and knows all of my fears, dreams and thoughts.

This Easter Friday we attended church and I realised how amazing a mother's love (in Mary) must have been to have watched her son being crucified and allowed it to happen in knowing the bigger picture of life. This was also evident in a Father allowing His son to die in order to save many others. It's been said that it wasn't the nails that held Jesus to the cross but that it was His love in knowing that it was the only way to redemption for humankind.

For me, my faith isn't a fairy tale or some whimsical notion of an uninformed cultural position, instead it's been a life's journey for me throughout my early University days of asking the Question about whether God really does exist or if indeed a man called Jesus roamed this earth whose birthday/year we still to this day observe in our daily calenders.

And indeed it reaches even deeper to an understanding and belief that there is life after death and that we will account for how we've lived our lives whilst on earth. With the knowledge that there will always be ongoing tension between what is perceived to be universal values of 'good' on this earth and the evil that wishes to destroy everything in it's path to power.

This Good Friday, I am grateful for my faith, my family and friends, even those of you whom I've not met but have taken the time to read this blog. Hopefully, if you haven't already taken up the challenge, find out more about this ever abiding faith that can conquer all fears and that doesn't dry up when we die but goes on to the next journey. When this life is over, it is only the beginning...

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Library visits and Early writing influences

Our youngest at a recent library visit

Growing up, I loved going to the library and even remember spending time during lunchtime in the library at primary school taking out books and reading them at home. In fact my parents would often turn off our bedroom light at night and I'd take my book close to the hallway light to read at night. My early favourites were fantasy books by Enid Blyton and later C.S. Lewis' 'Narnia' series.

Since my children were young, I've also taken them on frequent trips to the local libraries to choose books for them when they were younger and now they choose their own. It's a great way of learning about the world around them without even having to leave the comforts of your own home.

Most of the time we spend our visits in the fiction section for picture books for our youngest and in the novel/comic section for our older two. They've also participated in the library summer holiday reading programmes which I'd highly recommend for reading mileage over the summer break.

She loves to tell a story
These days, my children also like going to the library to choose books to read at home and my eldest has read most of the books that I've bought over the years in our too many book shelves at home library but over the years have also passed some on for others to read.

I also remember telling stories, still during primary school, to my sister at night when we didn't want to go to sleep. That idea still hasn't changed as I love to read to my youngest at bedtime and my girls enjoyed my storytelling growing up with a series of mysteries stories.

I know that my children now share in a love for reading and learning as I was encouraged as a child. Despite the onslaught of video gaming and internet information, we should still nurture an interest in reading books. My eldest has recently begun to enjoy reading ebooks online but still it's not the same as having books to flick through and to place on the side table at night.