Monday, 30 November 2015

Overnight at Le Rosalote Guest Fale in Savaii, Samoa...

Fritz with Le Rosalote co-owner - highly recommended!
Whilst we were in Samoa, my husband (Tofilau Fritz) and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary and we decided to travel to Savai'i on our special day with our children to research material on our next book but to also have some R&R.
After quick whirlwind trip we decided to look into a beach fale close to the Wharf in order to catch the ferry back the next morning and that's where we met with the co-owner of Le Rosalote Guest Fale only 15 mins away from the Wharf.
She was so amazing as she gave great accommodation discount for our family and provided a meal with our limited budget, towels, soap and toothpaste (although we had our own but wet). The hostess was also neat in supporting with adding an extra bed for our family of 5 at no extra cost when I was quite happy to share with our littlest.
The room was lovely with a neat view of the ocean outside our fale and we were able to sleep easily after a long day's drive around the island (more of the sites we visited in following blogs) and also will be reviewing on the 'trip advisor' website too.
The hospitality at "Le Rosalote" was second to none and they went above and beyond to accommodate for our needs. I would definitely recommend them to any and all as the next day I woke up (on my birthday) to the sound of water lapping beneath me (as the fale are built half on land and the other half on top of the water) and an amazing sunrise greeting me as I lay on the bed.
But even more amazing was that Fritz forgot his wallet behind and when we caught the Ferry (Lady Samoa III) I wondered why they called his full name out and that was because one of the staff had dropped off his wallet to the Ferry staff and they were able to connect the wallet with it's owner.
Simply amazing...

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Last day in Samoa...

Image result for samoa sunset This has been one amazing trip to Samoa. Feels like we've been here for ages but have packed in so much in such a short time and will be flying back home tonight. I'll be blogging about our trip over the next few days of places we were at and things we saw.

It's been great to see my parents again but also to meet again with Fritz (husband's) mum and family. The hospitality's been great! We also got to go to Savai'i for some R&R but also to do some research on the next book's to be launched next year.

There's also the opportunity for an amazing relationship with one of the biggest booksellers here for the books so will be keeping this in prayer and it's been neat to feel again about what being in Samoa is all about.

Our children have loved it but are also missing some of the comforts of home but it helps for them to see about not taking for granted in what they do have in Auckland.

So "tofa soifua" to the beloved homeland/motherland. We hope to see you again in the not too distant future, Lord willing and looking forward to what the future holds...

Monday, 23 November 2015

Talofa lava Samoa - Hello Savaii...

Image result for savaii Loving it is Samoa with my family. Went to church at Fasitoo and neat to share in the faith in a huge church with chandeliers, beautiful stained glass windows - Samoan styled and also enjoyed watching the words on powerpoint. Samoa is certainly up with things digital, even in the village.

Had a neat Sunday lunch yesterday with my parent and Fritz' family at my parents place by the beach and then duly jumped into for a nice Sunday swim - something I probably wouldn't have been allowed to do when I was much younger (ha ha).

Tomorrow we're getting ready for going to Savaii for some R&R but also a little research on my next picture book of "Tulaga vae o Moso" or Moso's footprints. Have already written the book but just needed to check out a couple of details.

So neat to be in Samoa and catching up on everything that's going on. With my birthday and the book launch just a couple of days away - I think will just be taking it easy and enjoying being away from the hustle and bustle of western life and just relaxing back. Samoan styles i.e. faifai lemu...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Samoan book launch of "Tagaloalagi and Fue" (3rd) picture book series...

Tagaloalagi and Fue Retold and Illustrated by Helen Tau'au Filisi Am so excited to be revealing our next (3rd) bilingual (English/Samoan) picture book cover of "Tagaloalagi and Fue" in the 'origins/creation' series of the tala o le vavau (ancient Samoan stories) to be launched in Samoa next week.

This was a story that my father shared with me many years ago back in the late 1980s. He was told this story when he was very young about Tagaloalagi (the supreme god) and Fue (his assistant.) It also discusses the ancient beliefs of how people were created, before Christianity, and for me, in studying Geography at the time, it showed how people in those times related the environment around them to the creation myths of old.

So this Saturday am travelling with my family to Samoa to visit my parents and families, read books at local schools then having a family birthday celebration next Wednesday the 25th Nov and later securing a venue to launch the book on the Friday 27th Nov.

The profile of Tagaloalagi was an actual profile of my husband but upon closer inspection looks a little like my mum in colour and eye shape when she was younger. I've also coloured the background of this book in darker shades as those times were often described as the 'pouliuli' or times of darkness so this book will stand out as being a little different from the others in design.

For those wanting to pre-order/order for Xmas you can contact me on: before stocks run out. Otherwise will be trying to get into local libraries and ebooks.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Annie Grace... 12 Dec album release

 Have been looking forward to the release of the latest album from Annie since her last album "Childhood" released in the mid 2000s for which she received the "Best Pacific Female Artist" of the Pacific Music Awards 2006. I used to play her CD whilst I'd do my house work (particularly the fast songs) and then whilst driving around when the children were younger and I'd take the CD with me on different road trips 'down the line' and 'up North' on the various family and work trip all over the motu (Island). It's still on my playlist for book launches, definitely feel good music and neatly inspired.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend her album release concert event, next month, as flying out to Hawaii the following day with last minute packing to do. But wishing her well with her talented husband, Mission, who is a funky maestro on the keyboards as they would make impressive and inspired music with their Christian and Samoan roots with a love of sharing their talent with many.

My girls had the privilege of being a part of their community singing group when they were based in Mangere over a couple of years before they left for Melbourne but then returned upon the death of Annie's grandma, a couple of years ago, and they have stayed ever since with their beautiful daughter Mishana.

Annie's mum, Talosaga Puletiuatoa is a best friend of my own auntie Mafa (my mother's sister), and was one of my favourite aunties growing up as an inspirational woman in her love for others and for God. And it was in my auntie Talosaga's home that I first met my husband to be, Fritz (then) Tofilau (now) back in 2000. This family will always hold a special place in my heart.

All the best Annie, in your giftings and album release and may God bless your songs as they reach out and bless others may the blessings come back to you and your family too ...

Monday, 16 November 2015

When the world turns upside down... R.A.K. on!

My heart and prayers go out to the families affected by the situation in Paris, France and more particularly due to the aggressive and coordinated terrorist attacks we are witnessing.

Much has been written about the fact that this is already terrorism happening around the world in different countries but that because it happened in a more affluent area in the world then the world's media then takes notice.

I find it difficult that people can commit such atrocities in the face of innocent bystanders and victims. This takes war to a whole new level when people choose to be suicide bombers taking anyone else within their vicinity or to storm a building, take hostages and kill innocent bystanders. So different from the ways that I was brought up and the religion that I believe which upholds the sanctity of life and encourages one to look after your neighbour as you would a friend.

It's been said that the most dangerous of all animals is not the parana nor the alligators or sperm whales - it's people who want to dominate over others, who get out of control and then begin to want to control the whole world around them. So today am advocating, like many others, R.A.K. Random acts of kindness - doing something good for someone else just because you can...

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Patsy Fata local Otara artist... thank you!

Featuring today a photo print that was gifted to me by my artist friend Patsy Fata, a very gifted artist whom I've known since I first started teaching in high school. I was a newbie English teacher and she was the resident art teacher. I remember thinking at that time that being an art teacher must be the best teaching job because you'd get to teach what you enjoy and students liked being there in listening to the latest music and creating what they wanted.

Patsy was also the Art, wardrobe and music directors of the 3 high school productions that I wrote for the high school that we both taught at of "Maui and Sina", "Tagaloalagi" and "Su'e the lost son" (the latter play now to be released early next year). In fact, it was pretty much a 2 woman band as we were both single, very passionate about the arts and believed in the students and their potential. And the community rallied behind with sold out performances and lots of positive feedback for the students from their friends and families. I was also told that having original performances like that were unprecedented at the time which was encouraging to know about.

It's now neat to see that the plays have now come full circle with the scripts now dusted off my bookshelf and published for next generations to read, perform or view. I've now have the plays at the University of Auckland library, University of Otago with interest from Waikato University in my books and growing.

And that's the thing that I've learnt from being a teacher of English in that it gave me a good basis from which to study and teach literature by a variety of authors and to share about what I'd learnt and now I can write about what I feel passionate about too and encourage other talented individuals around me to do the same too.

So now looking forward to seeing more of Patsy Fata's works of art out for the public to enjoy and share in. The world is your oyster...

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Samoan Proverbs - pearls of wisdom...

Yesterday I felt honoured when a friend of mine wrote a couple of Samoan alaga upu (proverbs) for me that symbolised the journey that I had been on for the past few years.

"O le umu ua vela" of one who does many things for his/her country and...
"O le sola a Faleata" of one who does not run far but returns.

I also received a painting at the second book launch with a Samoan proverb dedicated to me from my daughters Samoan bilingual pre-school centre teachers and it reads:
"E lele le toloa 'ae ma'au i le vai" which translated into English means that the bird (toloa - gray duck) takes flight but shall always return to its habitat.

For me, as an author/writer, I am honoured that in retelling our Samoan ancient stories of old and adding this content into my plays (with more genre to come) that people can feel cultural pride and an affirmation of being a part of these stories. I remember as a young child in primary school sharing with my mum a love for reading cultural tales from many different countries around the world but there were none published from Samoa.

Now, I have the opportunity to share these stories in schools, at libraries, online, with groups and with individuals and it's been a neat journey so far and hoping to share many, many more stories. It's been a labour of love for a lifetime and now I get the chance to share it with so many with trips forthcoming for Samoa and Honolulu which is such a blessing that I am most grateful to God for to keep living the dream...

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Looking forward to visiting Oahu, Hawaii...

As well as sorting details for visiting family and places in Samoa in a couple of weeks, am also finalising details for visiting the Island of Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands for next month as a group of family members supporting a school trip.

It's been a while since I've visited Honolulu and Waikiki as I remember first visiting as an 18 year old in the 1980s on my first OE on route to USA it was definitely an eye opener. I then went a few times by myself and with family to shop and visit enroute to the 'Mainland' during the 1990s and haven't been back since.

So I'm really looking forward to seeing the changes that have happened over the years. I remember the first time I visited, I was so surprised at how large Honolulu was as opposed to other Island nations capital cities that I'd visited like Nadi in Fiji, or Samoa's Apia as well as American Samoa's Pago Pago.

Looking forward to visiting Waikiki Beach again, seeing Diamond Head and visiting the University of Hawaii, learning again the history of Pearl Harbour, visiting local schools and a many other interesting sites.

Aloha Honolulu, here we come...

Thursday, 5 November 2015

To celebrate or not to celebrate Guy Fawkes 5th Nov...

Staying safe during Guy Fawkes Guy Fawkes celebrations have been a part of my life since I was very little. I remember buying fireworks a couple of weeks before the date at the local Chinese fruit shop and then letting it off up until the date of the 5th of November. At that time I didn't know what or why we were celebrating it but it was a fun time for the family.

Things changed in my last year of high school when I studied England's history around 1500s - 1700s period and found out that in actual fact Guy Fawkes was a man who was burned at the stake for treason in being a part of the 'gunpowder plot' to blow up the then British Parliament with King James who was the monarch at the time. Guy Fawkes was caught before it was to happen (someone snitched?) and that was the beginning of his demise.

Since then in England and other British colonies, continue to celebrate the day (historically because of the plans to blow up Parliament/House of Lords were thwarted) and by using fireworks it's in remembrance of what they attempted to do but were unsuccessful so now the reason behind the day has long been forgotten by many or unknown by most.

Nowadays in NZ, there is only a window of a few days in which people are able to buy and let off fireworks and one needs to be over 18 years to buy them. There are also petitions to stop the sale of fireworks altogether because of people or animals being accidently or purposely maimed.

It is definitely something to consider in now being informed about the history of this event but it is also now very much along the lines of Halloween celebrations in that retail outlets tote the day as a family friendly celebration without the historical connotations...

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Welcoming home the All Blacks...

This morning the All Blacks arrived at Auckland Airport (which happens to be in Mangere) just a few minutes from where I live and many had been there for ages to await their beloved heroes return back to home turf. This video shows the welcome haka they received on the tarmac with many Pacific and Maori airport staff showing their pride in the boys coming home.

Funnily enough, it was pouring rain this morning and my youngest's Early childhood class were going to go into town to Victoria market to hopefully catch a glimpse of these national heroes along with an estimated 60,000 people who were expected to turn up. I must say that I was glad when the trip was cancelled as with that amount of people, you wouldn't want to lose a child in that crowd.

So now the sun is shining and there's a lot of video footage all over Facebook and through the various media of the ticker tape parade and various places that the boys are showing up around Auckland. This is going to be repeated in Christchurch tomorrow (South Island) and then on Friday in Wellington (the capital). Sorry Dunedin but maybe next time...

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Samoan Consulate general offices in the heart of Mangere

I've been keenly watching the building of the newly relocated Samoan Consulate general offices next door to my workplace and have been amazed at how large it is. In fact, I give it credit that it's even larger than the WINZ (Work and Income NZ - government's social welfare offices).

In the 1970 - 1990s (before digital technology and emails etc.), my family would have to drive out to Samoa House out in the Central city on K Rd and would then have to find parking (which is naturally horrendous in the central city) and then have to traipse all the way back after a 90 minute return drive. That's now going to be cut to just 5 mins down the road.

Lucky for me, I'm a dual citizen in having both Samoan and New Zealand passports. I even know of family members whom have never relinquished their Samoan citizenship and have chosen to live in NZ with their NZ residency stamp on their Samoan passport for many years (till death do us part).

This new building certainly seems to make a bold statement in its large presence as there is a large population of Samoans living in South Auckland and particularly in Mangere and to have my work place next door as a Maori tertiary institute seems to pale in comparison as the new Samoan Consulate general office is built on an incline which heightens its appearance.

I'm hoping to launch a book from there next year (if they let me that is) and I'd have to really brush up on my Samoan language as it would probably be one from of my upcoming Samoan picture book ancient history series that I'm hoping to release from next year.

And with our Samoan trip just around the corner some 18 days and counting. To Samoan and beyond...

Monday, 2 November 2015

"Born to dance" movie review

 While most people were out "trick or treating" on Halloween night, my family went to watch "Born to Dance" NZ's first Hip Hop movie. I think it works a treat with teens into Hip Hop and the current scene in music but I wanted to see more of Stan Walker's character and a little more of Paris Goebel.

For a NZ film, I thought it did pretty well in developing the story about a young South Auckland Maori guy who wants to join a top world class hip hop dance crew. Although I couldn't figure out what 'Kura' stood for until I realised that it was short for "Papakura" which is another South Auckland suburb.

I couldn't help likening it to "Once were warriors" the classic Maori movie that came out in the 1980s and how far we have come as I was able to point out different streets in Otara, the bus stop at Otahuhu and the bus stop at Akonga which must be like what some Americans must do. It's no longer about being rejects of society but more now about carving own paths in society.

But overall I enjoyed the atmosphere, the fact that although his character dad wanted him to be in the army - the dad changes his mind when he sees just how good his son is in hip hop dance. Although I couldn't help thinking that the Tongan looking dad looked nothing like his Maori son unless his partner/wife had been Maori with Maori artefacts in the walls but it was just that clear Pasifika/Maori delineation that I was aware of.

So well done on the makers of "Born to dance". We need more movies like this where local people can see themselves on movie screens and not having to always relate to USA or even white NZ societies issues and problems.  This movie helped people to see that South Auckland urban stories are also relevant and need to be shared on a global scale. High recommended...

Sunday, 1 November 2015

New Zealand Rugby world cup winners!

So amazing to see the Boys in black win gold for the Rugby world cup for New Zealand. I'm sure there were hardly any cars early this morning on the road as most of NZ woke up to watch their TVs, computers, devices with a 5am kick off to view another legendary rival match between Australia and NZ to have bragging rights for another 4 years.

It's also going to be sad to see some of NZ's greats in Rugby close the curtain on this side of their rugby careers as they have often been seen as amazing cool headed role models to young males with the likes of Ritchie McCaw, Dan Carter and the 2 Samoans of  Kevin Mealamu and Ma'a Nonu as they retire at the end of this season. They will be sadly missed but it also ushers in the beginning of a new era of Rugby towards 2019.

I think it's time of great celebration for NZ as a Rugby mad nation but also for other nations in the world to consider what it has taken for NZ to get to the great heights that it has with unprecedented back to back wins with 3 Rugby world cups now under their belt.

All credit also goes to the Coach, Steve Hansen and the whole behind the scenes crew and families of the All blacks players. I'm not really a manic fan of Rugby as I reserve that right for my dad and husband but I've seen how the game has rallied together a nation to back a sporting team no matter what.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from these humble winners but at this time there is a lot of reveling in the win, parties galore all around NZ and looking forward to a ticker tape parade when the boys come back. To the All blacks you have done a nation proud...