Wednesday, 31 August 2016
This past month I have been so busy with teaching and then with a book launch planning for "Pacific Hibiscus" (poetry collection) last week on 26th Aug, that I didn't have much time to blog with so much going on and now looking forward to working on my next book launch which is scheduled for October with a lil' rest in between.
I'm also privileged to be able to be a part of the Auckland - New Zealand Independent book festival which is this year held in Mt Eden Hall on Guy Fawkes Day, 5th November. Last year was my first year as an exhibitor and sadly I was the only Pasifika writer there but it was neat to be able to meet other "Indie/self-publised" writers and discuss/share ideas too.
The whole idea behind the book festival is that it is open to the public to meet Indie authors i.e. those who have chosen to publish their books independently of traditional publishing companies and to purchase books if they so wish. I also got to talk with many different people who were interested in my books and it gave me a chance to share some of my books with the public.
It's been a real privilege to be a part of this group as I've met some really interesting writers with varied backgrounds and it's neat being around like minded people who share a love, passion or interest in books.
Looking forward to the festival with now 8 published books (I think I only had 3 last year) with another two to launch before the end of the end. Roll on Spring - my favourite month of the year...
Monday, 29 August 2016
I've been enjoying dark chocolate since being pregnant with my youngest daughter and would consume the darkest chocolate I could find which was usually 70% and higher (for medicinal purposes - ha ha!).
Anyway, this chocolate is also labelled that it is "...A robust, full-flavour, earthy and rich sweet chocolate created using only Trinitario Coco beans from the perfect growing climate of Northwestern Savaii in Samoa".
I'm hoping that that is the case, otherwise false advertising doesn't sit well with me but good to know that if this is true, then it is helping the Samoan economy in Savaii. Not all shops sell this but usually you can find it at the bigger supermarkets like the larger Countdown stores or the Pak'n'save.
So it's a bittersweet chocolate that gives that little kick at the end of a long hard day at work...
Sunday, 28 August 2016
This last Friday, I had the honour of having two friends from work: Aaron (last minute M.C.) and Penny (Anglican deacon who blessed the occasion and the book) from Te Wananga o Aotearoa, to assist me in launching my first poetry collection out into the stratosphere (a little too dramatic). They have both supported me along my writing journey and I'm so thankful for neat friends who go the extra mile to assist. God bless you both.
It was also neat to have students from Mangere College attend with their teachers which was a real privilege for me as this was one of the schools that I first taught at as a practicing teacher back in the 1990s before becoming a bonafide (qualified) English teacher. We were also able to share cake and pizza with them as a thanks for participating.
This particular poetry book has been long in the making, as I started writing poetry back in 1990 when I was in Albert Wendt's creative writing class at Auckland University after I had graduated with my first Master's degree. This was when I decided that I wanted to take writing seriously but at that time I didn't know much about publishing. Some of those early poems feature in the poetry book as well as more recent contributions.
I would also like to thank my youngest sis, Maria, for painting the cover designs as the specs that I gave her were around having a woman's face as a silhoutte with red hibiscus and blue for the ocean and she did an amazing work.
Pacific Hibiscus is the title of my first poetry book, as it was a title that I thought about back in the 1990s when I was working Ministry of Education contracts and I knew that I wanted to write stories/poetry etc. that featured women, hence the hibiscus as symbolic of women and Pacific as being a woman from the Pacific i.e. New Zealand Samoan women writer.
I'll publish some poems in my next blog but also now looking forward to gathering material for another book of poetry to launch next year as I could only feature of 35 poems in this current collection on themes of: motherhood, faith, Pasifika identities, how the other half live etc.
Friday, 19 August 2016
Today, it was a particular treat as I was able to hear a poetry reading by Sale Saulaina who is a Niuean poet. He has been particularly supportive in attending some of my book launches and at my next week's book launch at Mangere Bridge library, I've asked if he would like to give a poetry reading.
I will also be reading excerpts from of my first poetry collection which also happens to be on the National Poetry Day and it's particularly important to me as it will be my inaugural (first) public poetry reading. I'm definitely not a 'spoken word' poet as I've been writing poetry for years but I am looking forward to sharing my poetry to the audience and to garner their reactions.
I think that as well as self-publishing my own material, I'll also be looking to establish a Mangere writers group with support from Mangere Town Centre library manager, Sonia, with a view of publishing a collection of works from the community. So I'm putting it out there that if there are other like minded people who would like to join this group, and particularly indigenous stories or experiences, then please pass this message to your networks about this new initiative.
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
We Are All One
This last weekend I had the privilege of teaching my first class "noho" (Marae style teaching) for the Certificate in Indigenous Research that started last Friday evening and ended on Sunday after lunchtime. We started Friday evening with a "whakatau" a brief Maori welcome into our class by one my good friends and cultural advisors at Te Wananga o Aotearoa and ended on Sunday with a karakia (prayer) and waiata (song) and hugs all round.
It was a real eye opening experience in being able to share within the class of our experiences as people with indigenous backgrounds of the things that we have lived and observed over the past few decades, for those of us in our 40s upwards and to share with our younger "whanau" (class members) in their twenties.
I think the most precious thing for me was in seeing the Maori concept of "ahurutanga" or safe space being applied and is that there was a willingness to respect one another's view although sometimes it did get uncomfortable, it was a safe place to highlight some of the more negative experiences that indigenous people of this country have partaken in and some still continue to.
So while the world Olympics are currently tracking in Rio, South America, spare a thought for the many indigenous cultures who will be represented or those who are absent at these games. It was also really neat to witness Edwardo Kobra's largest painting in the world depicting 5 indigenous cultures from 5 world continents on an international stage. Can you guess who they represent?
Looking forward to the journey ahead, the stories to unfold and the research to begin ...