Thursday, 31 March 2016

1st book launch of the year "Su'e the lost son"...

Announcing our 1st book launch of the year next Friday at Tupu (youth) library. It is the third book in our play series called "Su'e the lost son". It was written and dedicated to the students of Tangaroa College when I taught there as an English teacher between 1991 - 1997. It was also dedicated to my family and the Otara community as I called it my second home at the time.

As in the synopsis, the play is about:
"Su'e and Tui are twins but that is where their similarities end. Su'e wants to be someone and break all the rules but Tui is responsible and more interested in helping a local street gang turn into a choir to win prize money for charity.
Their mother, Malia, recalls her grandfather's ancient Samoan stories of the Tui brothers, Sina and the evil Sauali'i.
A battle between Granpa and Sauali'i is declared over Su'e but there can only be one winner. Who will be left standing?"

The play also features a fagogo (ancient Samoan mythological story) of brothers that my mother told me and that I had read in a Samoan mythology book many years ago. The play itself had some amazing actors and La'au/Styx was one of them, hence the big reveal of the cover on the day.

Looking forward to this launch at Tupu library as it is down the road from the high school that I used to dream in about publishing my stories and now it is finally coming true...

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Daylight savings ends this weekend!...

Image result for daylight savings new zealand 2016Here's a reminder to put your clocks back an hour to have an extra hour's sleep this Sunday early morning in New Zealand. I must say that I never really enjoyed daylight savings i.e. putting the clock an hour forward until I had children and realised how much more they enjoyed having an extra hour outdoors or for other youthful activities.

Now I've accepted it as having an hour's extra daylight during the summer months where we can spend time together as a family at the park, at the beach or having a family BBQ but when daylight savings is over, I definitely enjoy putting the clock back an hour when winter arrives and the shorter evenings and colder months come.

So this Sunday, if you don't find me up early and blogging, it's probably because I'm having an extra hour in bed or am taking my time to savour the extra hour I have to do something productive. Can't wait till it arrives...

Monday, 28 March 2016

Son of God movie - He is Risen!

This Easter Sunday, I went with my family to our Easter Sunday service and was reminded of the price that Jesus took upon himself on the Cross to bridge that gap between us and God. The cross is now empty as was the tomb. And at our service we were served with communion and watched a snippet of the "Son of God" movie (2014).

However, when I came home I thought to watch the whole of the movie as I hadn't watched it before but had heard of it when it came out a couple of years ago. After watching it and being moved at how tortuous the ordeal was and symbolic of the time of the Passover when Jesus was crucified, I thought it was an interesting portrayal of Jesus as each director/actor interprets what they think Jesus might have thought or acted.

But as a mother, I thought about how painful it must have been for Mary to see her child go through such an ordeal even though she would have known that He truly was the son of God. As a mother, I would want to shield such pain from my child/ren and take it upon myself but she must have known that it was to serve a great purpose.

I also thought about how Jesus must have had an enigmatic personality that would have drawn people to him, not so much like the Hollywood portrayal of actors but more for His love of people, his compassion for humanity and sharing pearls of wisdom as to any and all that would have drawn so many to Him.

It makes me also realise that even the Pharisees at the time thought that they were doing God's will even in judging Him wrongly and how we too must be careful of how we see people who are different from us. A truly humbling movie...

Saturday, 26 March 2016

NZ Flag Referendum...

This week's result regarding the decision to keep the old flag comes as a shock to some but for many who have fought hard and remember those who died over the old flag and what it represented in the different world wars - it in recognition of the history which many still hold dear although that same history many would rather forget or have no connection to.
For the current prime minister and those who pushed for the whole idea of a new flag and then referendum to make it binding, it wasn't the foregone decision that they had expected in a landslide victory but perhaps a pie in the face of spending over an estimated $26 million dollars on an idea that probably should have been voted on first before spending the dollars to come up with designs etc.
So now for those who made emotional connections with the new flag that won't be used, there may be a feeling of being cheated of having gone through the whole exercise with now nothing to show for it.
In this particular issue, I can see many different views that are valid on both sides as in the end I decided to abstain from voting as it was difficult to make a decision from the two sides but perhaps leaning closer towards voting against wasting the $26 million dollars spent now on a non event.
I'm hoping that this present government will think hard before it ever does the same again but then perhaps when we go to the polls next year, it will the last time that they will be in a position to repeat history...

Friday, 25 March 2016

Easter Friday that changed the world ...

This Easter season, I'm reflecting on how I am blessed to have a faith that believes in people and gives hope to the world through the life of one man who changed history to what we know it as today, as Jesus.

Imagine life with no Red Cross, no St John's Ambulance, no Mercy hospitals, no schools, no World Vision and the list goes on. In that void, I see a world of anarchy as in many nations that do not believe in Him, with little hope, instead ruled by dictators, mass murders and no humanitarian aid.

Although in world history, many wars and misinterpretations of biblical philosophies were fought in His name, He still remains as one of the world's mysteries that few will ever really be able to comprehend, yet - He still is available to one and all through writings about Him in the Bible.

This Easter, I'll be watching the movie "Risen" as a reminder about an historical event that happened approximately 2016 years ago and they're still seeking his body today...

Sunday, 20 March 2016

5th Birthdays and the polyfest...

Image result for otahuhu pools This weekend was busy with our youngest's celebration of her 5th birthday which started on Friday whereby my beloved took our dear lil' one to Rainbow's End "Kids Kingdom" for her special day with rides galore and then yesterday we celebrated with our families with a BBQ at the Otahuhu pools.

We also had her dedication there, which was neat to have our Pastor and families pray for her life ahead and to ask for God's blessing on her. She sure had a great time with her family and lil' friends from pre-school and will sadly miss them for a time as she now heads to primary school tomorrow or "big school" as we call it.

And the Polyfest i.e. the biggest Polynesian festival in the world, featured this weekend at the Velodrome and I saw back to back traffic in and out of Manukau. Crazy, especially with me running around and getting things ready for the birthday. I also heard that Mangere College (a local school) won the over all prize of the festival. Well done to local talent.

And my parents are heading back to Samoa this weekend and I thank them for coming down to visit their youngest grandchild, on her birthday and thank our families and friends for witnessing this special occasion. Such a blessing to behold...

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Try the Kiwimetre...

For New Zealanders, this is a very interesting survey promoted by TV1 and it's had some interesting results. I gave it a go today and found the questions very interesting as it asked questions such as which flag do you prefer (currently voting for either a new as opposed to the old flag) and different questions regarding the icons one associates closely with New Zealand.

The poll also asked some interesting questions about the role of religion, and views on sports, Maori, ties to the Crown and immigration etc. I found the poll to be interesting in the scope of it's questioning and wonder how the results will be used in any forums as they are trying to get as wide a scope of NZers completing this survey as possible.

There weren't any specific questions about views on education or food but there were some on poverty, the role of the wealthy to address this and for which political party voted for in the last elections. I think some of the information being published on this is seeking to ask different questions about what constitutes being "kiwi" today but I still think that it will be those who are able to get internet access to such surveys will have a say but those who don't have access, won't have their say...

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Su'e the lost son - 6th book launch coming soon...

 Here is a sneak preview of part of the cover to our new release and first book of the year called "Su'e the lost son". It's due to be launched on 15 April and looking forward to inviting my family, friends and readers to Tupu library to celebrate this awesome occasion.

I say that it's awesome in the sense that it's the 20 year anniversary since I wrote this play in my 20s and the reason being that I saw a lot of Pasifika (and Maori) students going through identity problems and wanted to address some of issues that they were grappling with much as I had many years ago.

It's also to my delight, to bring this play to the public and especially to gift it back to the community and youth of Otara for whom this play was written for. I still remember thinking back then that if you could achieve success as a teacher in Otara, then you could survive anywhere.
The other reason is that I never thought that it would ever get published as big publishing companies don't really cater for community literature unless it gives back megabucks. In being able to self publish this play, it's a dream come true and never in my wildest dreams did I think as a 20 something year old that I would ever be able to do this.
I guess dreams can come true and even be surpassed - I have my God to thank for that...

Monday, 7 March 2016

Upcoming book launch dates for 2016...

Image result for tupu library   Today was a busy day for booking dates and venues in arranging with various Auckland library managers and staff for upcoming book launches at local Auckland libraries.

The first book launch for the year of "Su'e the lost son" is set for the Tupu library in Otara / Manukau on Friday 15 April around lunch time. I really wanted to confirm this venue as it is close to the high school of Tangaroa College that I first worked at and wrote the play for. In fact, it's the 20th year celebration since I first wrote this play and the themes are still relevant to today's youth as they were back then.

And last night I finally finished painting up the book cover which will be revealed on the day as with each book, I'd like to think that the reader takes away with them a piece of art on the cover. The cover is also symbolic of "Styx" a local performer who was the original Granpa in the play. I give credit to his superb acting skills that took us to the Maidment Theatre at the University of Auckland for a one night showing.

In fact, my old Creative writing and Post Colonial Literature lecturer Albert Wendt was invited to view the school production when it showed at the University when it had the one night showing at the Maidment Theatre and he did.

I've also booked two other library venues for my next two book launches which will be Otahuhu Library for the next release in the bilingual picture book series on Friday 27 May and Friday 29 July for the first poetry collection launch.

Never a dull moment and looking forward to the year ahead...

Thursday, 3 March 2016

"Pacific Hibiscus in GodNZone" canvas to Italy ...

"Pacific Hibiscus in GodNZone" 10x12cm Acrylic on canvas
It's finally gone... from Mangere --> Waiheke Island Toi Gallery --> Treviso, Italy!

This has been an exciting journey and thankful to be sharing this journey with you. There is a story behind the canvas but that's for another time. Suffice to say that it was an honour and a privilege to take part in this.

Below are the details (with a couple of omissions) that I passed on to the curator of the exhibition and will be published on their website worldwide. Wow!



Title: Pacific Hibiscus in GodNZone

10x12cm, 2016

Technique: Acrylic on canvas


Talofa lava. Born in Auckland, New Zealand to Samoan parents, Helen’s artwork is heavily influenced by her Pasifika and Christian roots. Having been unable to continue her senior art studies in high school to University, she instead graduated with a Masters in Geography (1990) from the University of Auckland and a Masters in Creative writing (2013) from AUT University. She is currently studying towards a Doctorate in Education with AUT University.


As an educator, Helen began painting again in the early 2000s in missing that creative side of her. In 2015, she self-published 3 self-illustrated picture books of Samoan ancient stories and 2 performance plays for young adults. In 2016, she will be launching a further 5 titles with the inclusion of an illustrated poetry collection, colouring book and an illustrated Samoan historical series.


You can find Helen currently working at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, (a Maori indigenous tertiary provider) in Mangere where she currently resides with her family. She’ll either be writing or painting or working on a new project.