Friday, 30 September 2016

MIT Manukau Exhibition

 For one of my class research fieldwork trips, we drove on a Saturday morning to the MIT Manukau Business school exhibition that visually displays a timeline of some of the main events that have shaped Manukau City (South Auckland) from it's inception.

The exhibition is called "Taku Tamaki (My Tamaki) Auckland Stories at MIT Manukau". It's a free exhibition for any to attend and it's open daily from 9am - 5pm. I'd definitely recommend this for families to visit, although it is a small space it's worth attending for viewing the displays and information.

My class and I found it particularly interesting as there are a lot of events that we weren't aware of in the early establishing of the area but equally fascinated that some of the things that we took for granted like Hellaby's (freezing works) gumboots were also displayed in the exhibition as well as Paris Gobal's Nike dancing boots.

Another item that was on display was the late great Jonah Lomu's (Rugby legend) Rugby jersey as well as a mini display of the current protesters' placards against the building on Maori sacred land that I blogged on earlier.

Definitely worth the visit...

Saturday, 24 September 2016

"The Lion in the Meadow" production at Pumphouse Theatre...

For the last couple of days, I've been busy at AUT North Shore in class with other EdD students discussing where we are in our studies and also how things are progressing. I'm now into my second port-folio which is due next month with some late nights confirmed for the next weeks.

The neat thing was that my youngest's class was invited to attend with some other junior classes to Tim Bray's production of "The Lion in the Meadow" (the late Margaret Mahy's stories) at the Pumphouse Theatre in the North Shore, some 5 mins drive away from my class.

Although parents weren't invited due to strict numbers allocated, I went to see my child's trip and was invited to stay and view the stories. A big shout out to Tim Bray (the producer) as it was a neat show for children to watch with tickets sponsored by a North Shore couple who support the work of the Theatre.

I enjoy theatre, having produced some high school productions back when I was teaching and through church youth productions and have considered producing more theatre productions but currently due to my busy lifestyle, studies and work, am unable to commit time to making productions come to life.

I must say that it was refreshing to be back in a theatre and to see Lake Pupuke again, which is where the Theatre is located next to, as I used to drive and supervise a group of High students from Otara to Lake Pupuke for Dragonboat training back in the day. That was when I was busy with outrigging training and then would take students to training ready for races. Sadly, Dragonboating is not continuing anymore.

But so good to see the children enjoying meeting with the cast after the show and especially the Lion, as he seemed to be the most popular of all the cast as lots of the children wanted to meet and talk with him. And especially as it was the last day before the school holidays, it was an especially neat treat...

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Mangere - Otahuhu Board candidate... Faalavaau Helen Tau'au-Filisi

Putting my name forward in the upcoming Mangere - Otahuhu Board nominations was no easy decision as I was first approached by members of one of the main political parties, in 2000, to consider being nominated into the then Mangere local Board elections but as I was getting ready for our wedding the following year, I didn't think it fair to bring this into a new marriage and declined at that stage but left it in the back-burner to consider for some future time.

It wasn't until the last round of elections, some 3 - 4 years ago, that I re-considered but as I had already committed to 3 school Boards having been elected into all 3 (although one was without an election and we automatically got in with the right amount of candidates), I thought it best not to add another Board onto my already burgeoning portfolios. Two of those schools were in Mangere (my former high school and a local primary school that my children were attending at the time) and a school across the Mangere Bridge.

But it was something that my dad and I had talked about growing up in being a spokesperson for our family/community as he is a fine orator (I am not as skilled as he) and so I decided this time round to honour his wishes and to put my name into the mix (in the 11th hour) and just made the cut off time 2 minutes before nominations were closed.

Why leave it last minute you might ask? it is due to the competitive nature of the elections of which I am not in favour of. I have always been competitive within myself to always see how far I can go as a high school student, University student, Body building (back in the day as a Uni student) in my work, often pushing the boundaries to see how far I can go and now in my work as a self-publishing author producing 5 books in a year for the last two years with future plans for the same. 

And now I'm encouraging my students to do well, my children too for their future successes as it is something that I firmly believe and the reason for this blog is to allow individuals to have access to my writings as a local Mangere resident writing for a global audience.

Therefore you won't see me campaigning on streets and putting my face out on placards and billboards, it's just not me but I'm happy to blog, to talk to people and answer questions and will be discussing some of my thoughts and ideas on the process in the coming days and even post election next two weeks ...

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Ihumatao: Auckland's oldest Maori settlement under threat ...

Today, I went for a drive with my younger sister to check out some of the locations that I'd like my class to visit as a part of our 'Certificate in Indigenous Research' course that I'm currently teaching at Te Wananga o Aotearoa. For our research field trips, I've thought to start close to home to research local Maori issues in research. I wrote an earlier blog in this same subject last year but things may begin to soon escalate.

One of the sites is Mangere Mountain (although it has it's own former name which is not commonly used) will be the subject of my weekend blog and the other is in Ihumatao, a 5 - 10 drive from where I live, in the Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve.

I remember over the years driving around there and admiring the scenic beauty and rural feel of the area so close to the bustling Auckland airport, industrially zoned areas, hotel chains nearby and yet so different in nature and isolated from surrounding suburban sprawl.

That was until in 2014, when it first came to the attention of media and the local iwi/village that the former owner/s wanted to sell it for millions of dollars. It is a long story but the short of it as that after much opposition from local iwi (although there are some who agree with the development) Fletchers Living won the right (through offering $19 million and other provisos according to reports) to begin developing around 400+ housing right smack bang in the middle of the iwi with support from the government zoning it as SHA Special Housing area.

The sad part about the story is that historically the land was once a thriving area of trade and horticulture and was actually confiscated off Maori in the 1800s by the crown through some dubious political decisions and offered to pakeha settlers to buy for farming purposes (part of my Doctoral studies on the area of Mangere) and the rest is history. There is a lot more detail to this ongoing saga but this is where the story only begins...

As recent as Monday, I read a Facebook post that protest blocks of concrete have been erected on the site and when I went to investigate I couldn't believe that anyone would even consider building dense housing so close to a Historical site that hasn't been sufficiently researched and even on top of sacred burial caves, so close to the iwi - I thought that we were past that kind of thinking. Even under the guise of special housing this site should never have been considered! that's my opinion as a local, indigenous (to Samoan), research geographer and doctoral educator.

There is also a poem that was written that I think needs to be read but I'd need to seek permission first to share but a real concern on what's happening just down the road. I think as more locals learn about the history and implications a groundswell will occur in realising the significance of such a site. I'll be keeping eye on the developments and will offer support as appropriate...

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Attending Cultural Arts and Crafts market 1st Oct...

I've had some requests to buy some of our books locally and so have made the 1st October, Saturday available to attend a monthly Arts and Crafts market at the local Massey Homestead. There I'll try and have all the titles available or will take orders for those that have sold out for reprinting.

The Massey Homestead was where I tried to start a poetry group some 20 years ago in 1997 but it didn't get off the ground as there was another group that was meeting at the time and I wasn't able to attend for various reasons and so my writing didn't get off the ground.

Funnily enough, I now could be termed a published poet having now launched my first collection of poetry out into the stratosphere and it's neat to look back and see where my journey started and where I am currently.

At these markets, I drove past one day last year, and saw that there were a variety of arts and crafts but not as busy as the local Mangere Markets where you just about have to race into a park before it's taken as it gets really busy at the town centre. Here it will be more leisurely and will try and get EFTPOS provisions for those who prefer not to pay by cash - which is what I do too.

So if you're not doing anything in particular on this day and would like to have a look (hopefully it will be a fine spring day), please feel free to peruse and happy for book signing as requested...

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Sistas Night with Lisa Bevere...

Was neat to go out with my eldest to attend the first "Sistas Nights" at Life South (Thurs, Fri and Sat nights). The traffic was horrendous but was able to get a good park with some fancy driving but it was all good as the starting time was delayed to allow for the crazy banking up of traffic.

The full conference is held over the same days and nights at the Vodafone Events Centre but with my full life, I was only able to attend the nights with many other 'Sistas' who didn't attend for varying reasons.

However, we were in for a treat as we got to listen to our speaker 'Lisa Bevere' who has just written a Best seller which I will blog about after I finished reading it called "Without Rival". She was so very forth right and her discussion helped me to answer a couple of questions that I was unsure about which I will be blogging about in the next couple of days.

I think one of the most important thoughts that she gave was to challenge each person to claim what we have been destined to achieve and to believe that we each need to write that story, that sentence, that paragraph in life that we can only write. She really challenged me to take a step forward rather than a step back and to stand at our post unwavingly.

Such an inspirational but also challenging woman speaker at this day and age who is not afraid to speak to what she is committed to. She also talked about her family and the legacy that she has instilled into her grandchildren and it was so neat to briefly talk after the session at her book signing to be affirmed that her particular message was for me.

So here I am about to go forth boldly with a belief that this is my destiny... (in a few blogs time)

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Cover design for "Midsummer Night's Dream with a taste of Polensia"...

Cover painting by my lil' sis Maria with background painting by mwah
Am really blessed to have creativity and talented artists in my family, starting with my mum who then passed it over to me and now my children and sis' Maria. This particular design was a collaborative effort between my sis and I to design the cover for a first Shakespearian adapted work.

The brief I gave my sis' was to come up with a silhouette design of a man and woman (Samoan styled) with a background that depicted the "..Night's Dream". Maria came up with the silhouettes and flowers (much in keeping with our "Pacific Hibiscus" (poetry collection) book design and left the background for me to paint.

I wanted to keep it simple and went for a deep greenery colour in the lower background, in keeping with the story that is set in the coconut plantation but thought not to paint coconut trees which would be too distracting and then kept the sky blue and wanted to illuminate the silhouettes to make them stand out.

It's funny, but today I was reflecting about when I was in high school, many years ago, I had a careers class when I was around 15-16 years old and I specifically remember looking for areas of careers that I would be interested, that seemed to fit in with the talents that I had and it was the hand out of the "Art Director" that caught my attention. It didn't happen career-wise in not going to art school at Uni (which was my origin intention) but it has happened for me in the joy of being able to design my own book covers.

I'm also pleased with the way that Maria painted the young woman, as in the play (for those who recall the origin Shakespearian play) one of the young ladies is expected by her father to marry the man of his choice rather than the man of her choosing. She has a night to make the decision before she must suffer the consequences if she chooses against her father's will.

The male (father), depicted in the painting, wears a red "ula fala" which is a symbolic red flowering vegetation that is sewn into a necklace that mainly "matai" or those of chiefly Samoan status would wear. He is also holding a "to'oto'o" which is usually used by "tulafale" (chiefly orators) to symbolise their status as orators and is used in formal speech making occasions.

In adapting Shakespeare's play, I wanted to keep true to the origin and translated it line by line within a Samoan/Pasifika context, therefore the addition to the original title of ... "with a taste of Polensia" is a take on the word "Polynesia" which is a mythical place that I have placed the setting of the play.

This will also be my fourth play that I have launched (with 3 more to go) with the intent to launch a short stories collection next year and the first of my novels, Lord willing. As usual, a lot to get ready as one of the book sellers approached me to have the books ready for releasing to the libraries before the actual launch so have had to up my game on the deadlines.

Therefore, keeping out of mischief before the October launch and looking forward to my parents from Samoan joining me for this special occasion...

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Happy Father's Day - kiwi style...

A big Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there and an especially big shout-out to my dad in Samoa and the father of my children, Tofilau Fritz. We were able to spend a neat morning out sharing breakfast with him (for those who were up early enough) in our household and then off to morning church at Life church South (Manukau).

There we were surprised to see Barbers at work shaping the hair of many a-dad and a neat gift for the dads who took up the offer and got a free special treat at church as well as a neat sermon/talk by our Senior Pastor Paul deJong and hi interview with the "Breakers" (NZ Basketball) owner and a player.

Another especially big shout-out to the three talented guys from "The fade joint" in Onehunga who gave of their time and brought a neat smile to many dads and their families. Thanks to Pastor Ben for the idea too! w0w - who would have thought of that in church as well as the "Guns 'n Roses" rendition by one worship band for the hard rocker dad's - what a laugh! but neat to see.

It was really to watch them in action as I didn't initially know what a "fade" haircut meant until it was explained to me by my beloved that it was a special way of cutting hair that "fades" from a No. 1 cut to a little more hair (you can tell that I'm a little out of touch with men's haircut fads).

So it was quite inspirational to see the transformations taking place with the haircuts from those with lots of hair, some unruly at times, to a nicely shaped hair style that took a lot of patience on the part of the recipient and artist flair from the guys. Nice one! and even my beloved received this gift grateful for not having to visit in the next couple weeks.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Upcoming title: "A midsummer night's dream... with a taste of Polensia"...

I am so excited to be working with my lil' sister on the cover of our next contribution which is a re-telling or an adaptation of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" which he wrote back in the 1590s, some 400+ years ago.

Why would I want to recreate such a play? you might be asking. Well, in 1996 when I was ready to leave teaching and start on a new journey, I wanted to put myself to the challenge and decided to rewrite one of Shakespeare's comedy plays with a Samoan/Pasifika flavour. That year I gifted it to the school for their next school production which they sadly did not produce so it's been collecting dust on my book shelf for many years and now it's time to give it the light of day in this publication.

So it's now been 20 years since I first re-wrote this play. I remember also showing two other high school drama teachers the play but because of the dense nature of the words i.e. very wordy, it's probably more easier for a professional group to perform rather than a group of high schoolers (I think in retrospect) but then I could be proven wrong.

I really wanted to do this as I thought that would be a neat challenge for me, as a writer, to take on a very famous writer and comedy play, if not his most famous comedy, and to write it in a Samoan/Pasifika context. I'd also been studying Shakespeare at Uni and had taught his plays to senior English students and thought why not?

So that's a bit of background as to why I decided to adapt this play and if I have some time later, I might consider adapting one of his tragedies. As I've studied many of his plays including Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, and have taught Othello and King Lear as well as Macbeth.

It's going to definitely be a busy weekend with blurbs to write and title cover pages to design for the next book launch - never a dull moment!...

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The first day of spring...

Loving this first official day of Spring with lighter crisp fresh air and the lighter mornings also neat to have the opportunity to take my lil' one to the park after work where it's not so dark like in winter months.

So much to plan for with Spring and above is my middle child's miniature creations of dolls cakes that look good enough to eat (but best not to). There's definitely a creative thread that runs through the female side of the family as my lil' sister and I plan for the next book cover for book promotions.

It's also been good to work with two MIT (Manukau Institute of Technology) students in their final year of an applied Bachelor of Business degree who are currently working with my new self-publishing company (you guessed it) "Pacific Hibiscus" who each have planned a research project to work on. One in the area of Accounting and another in Events. Never a dull moment.

And in between working on my EdD (doctoral studies), planning for field trips for my Research class and ensuring that I have a good rest in between. Really looking forward to Christmas too and have a rest... Roll on Dec 16 (my last day of work) ....