Saturday, 31 December 2016

Doing what matters in 2017...

Quote Generator I've been doing a bit of reading and reflecting on 2016 which passes in several hours from now and one of the things that's I've learnt over the years is in order to move towards your goals that you need to do what matters in order to reach them.

It's also about having sorted out your priorities for the new year and working out what matters in those times. In that we have a limited amount of time and also of resources so that we need to maximise time and resources on what is important for us.

For me, it's about my faith, my family and also a legacy. I think about what society would have been like without the Christian faith and selfless people who set up Christian and humanitarian organisations that help others like the Red Cross, World Vision, Tear Fund, the Salvation Army etc. I think the world would be a darker place and we are in a better place because of it.

Family-wise, we were all born in a respective place and time and into a family that we have no control over and therefore I believe that we are each born for a reason and a purpose with our various talents and personality's. So we therefore need to do what matters to achieve those purposes.

I'm looking forward to this new year of 2017, we never know how much time we have left with our loved ones and so doing what matters is really important with no regrets. I have more books to write, more time to spend with family and doing things with them that matter.

What will you do in 2017?...

Thursday, 29 December 2016

R.A.K. farewelling 2016...

Only a couple more days for 2016 and looking forward to seeing what the new year holds ahead. However, today was also a reminder, for me, of some of the generational values that I have witnessed and have been passed down to me from my 97 year old Granma, my parents and now also for me to pass onto my children as well.

Today, before visiting my Gran with my dad, I took my children to a family fast food restaurant to grab a quick bite for lunch before running some errands. Whilst there we witnessed a Samoan family coming together with a cake to celebrate a teenage girl's birthday together with a guitar and there may have been about 10 of them.

They sang the birthday song in Samoan which we also joined in discretely from our corner and there were also a few speeches said in Samoan. This reminded me of many scenes when my dad would do similarly at various restaurants growing up where we would celebrate and sing songs in Samoan, prayers and speeches etc for various occasions. Sometimes I'd be a bit shy but I'd just go with it.

Instantly, I thought about my dad and I knew that he would have had thoughts to sow money into the occasion and give some $ to the birthday girl. I was out of cash and had given both my older two $20 each to spend and asked them about how they felt about giving it as we left the restaurant. One had brought the $ in the pocket but was too shy to give it, and so the other gave it to the birthday girl as we left the restaurant.

The family members were very surprised and we wished the birthday girl a very happy birthday as we walked out of the restaurant but when we opened the door, we saw a man seated on the ground silently. I had an unfinished ice cream in my hand that I passed it on to him and apologised as I didn't have any cash on me.

It wasn't until I got into the car and saw the guy waving goodbye and smiling that my oldest expressed about how neat it was to do something that would see someone smiling and I was surprised when she said that she had given him the $20 as she would have only spent it on something that she probably didn't really need.

Needless to say that I was tearful and didn't want to show it as I realised that the demonstrations of my granma and parents love and generousity of giving things away without expecting anything back (R.A.K. Random acts of kindness) when no one else was looking reminded me that as we demonstrated it to our children then they would do the same too. As I'd often watch my granma and parents give away food, money etc. often to those who needed it more.

The challenge for me in the restaurant was that I was reminded about my dad's generousity and I had a choice to either do something about it or to just think about it and not do anything but in acting on it, I was blessed by my children's selfless act and so was another who probably least expected it.

Sometimes I've been too busy to act on thoughts or have walked away in being too busy or with other priorities but we never know why people would choose to be sit outside shopping areas, wash car windows on busy roads or walk up to people asking for coins etc. I just know that if I were in a similar situation for whatever reason that I would wish for someone to have mercy/love on me.

The Challenge: Now, would you do the same?...

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Watching Disney's "Moana" for 2nd time...

Took my parents, visiting from Samoa, to watch "Moana" and they enjoyed it! for me being the second time with my littlest we enjoyed it even more. I thought about it whilst watching the movie and considered the different features that appealed to me as a NZ Samoan educated female academic/artist and it's for the following reasons as I expand on my earlier post when first watching it in Fiji:

  • loved the colour palette, bright azure coloured sea contrasting with yellow sky, greenery and earthy browns
  • my love of the sea, ocean, you'll see a lot of my paintings incorporate the sea, land, sky 
  • the people actually look Polynesian, had to laugh at Maui, I suppose they needed Maui to look "larger than life"? as a demi-god
  • enjoyed the music with various languages and poked my mum when the Samoan lyrics came on
  • loved singing so much of Samoa incorporated into some of the motifs, the "fale" Samoan house features (similar to many other Pasifika traditional houses), her "tuiga" or headress, the "tatau" or male tatoos (although some modern tatoos added too)
  • the fact that our ancestors were sea-faring, way-finding, explorers way before Captain Cook who took so much credit for "discovering" islands when he actually hadn't as they had been "discovered" centuries before by Pacific ancestors
  • loved the arts depicted through tapa-like pictures, on the sails, carvings, on Maui's tatoos etc. so many ways of demonstrating various art
  • loved the music and dancing, as Pasifika cultures each have their own movements, music and songs etc. passed down from generation to generation and changing
  • enjoyed the relationships that formed between inter-generations of parents with children, grandparent/s, even animals, and the way that in the village, everyone has a role/part to play and no wo/man is an island with the values and stories passed down
  • each Pacific Islands/families, village etc. has precious stories of origins and genealogy passed down although many are missing these vital stories of who they are and where they came from
  • Maui's Pacific sense of humour, often mocking but also very funny at times with the play on words
I could go on and on but these were a few of the ideas that I thought about whilst watching the movie again and laughing over the various scenes with Maui and Moana. Again, highly recommended for families (despite what the "haters" say) and an affirmation of my ancestral history of explorers, scientists and artistic craftsmen, artisans, artists who had a dazzling sense of humour.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day...

Sharing one of my very favourite and contemplative Christmas songs this Christmas and a very Merry Christmas to all our friends in the Northern Hemisphere as we celebrate Boxing Day in the Southern Hemisphere. Christmas for my family was a very special occasion celebrated with family and even more so that we were able to spend time together with our loved ones.

For me, the Christmas spirit started on Christmas Eve in attending Carol singing at my parents home (here from Samoa) and we listened to my parents church'es Samoan youth 'Manuao" which I had attended for over 10 years growing up where we would all hop on a bus or even 2 and go around to different family houses and sing there and share the Christmas cheer until midnight when we would have a count down and then wish each other a merry Christmas before heading home tired but so happy at what we had accomplished.

Yesterday, on Christmas day I attended with our children at my birth church with my parents for the 9am Christmas service and singing carols before quickly racing over for our 10.30am Christmas service at our home church where they served cookies and milk and later Ice cream as a Christmas treat for families.

When then returned for Christmas lunch and dessert at my parents before visiting my 97 year old Granma with my parents and we sang Christmas carols and prayed together which was very special as she acknowledged that we hadn't thought that we would be sharing another Christmas together and here we were. A sure blessing and even blessed to have 4 generations together.

We then left and came back home to relax and later families members spent time at my husband's family too. It was such a special Christmas time and so blessed for having spent it together. Thank you God for these blessed times together...

Saturday, 24 December 2016

A busy lead up to the 12 days of Christmas (Eve)...

Image result for 12 days of christmas It's been a very busy 12 days before Christmas with so much happening and have been listening a lots of Christmas carols with local Christian Radio station Radio Rhema when I heard a story behind the "12 days of Christmas" carol.

I first remember learning to sing this song back in primary school and wondered about all the different presents that were being given but didn't know the backstory. This is one version of this Christmas carol's meaning according to

It was first published around 1780, Roman Catholics weren't able to practice their faith openly and so the author of this song penned the words to assist children/people to learn the tenets of their faith with the surface meaning and a hidden meaning.

The story is as follows:

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me
a partridge in a pear tree - Jesus Christ who gave his life willingly on the cross.
on the 2nd day... 2 turtle doves - the old and new testament.
on the 3rd day... 3 french hens - faith, hope and love.
on the 4th day... 4 colly birds - 4 gospels of the new testament.
on the 5th day... 5 gold rings - first 5 books of the old testament.
on the 6th day... 6 greese a laying - 6 days of creation.
on the 7th day... 7 swans a swimming - 7 fold gifts of the Holy Spirit.
on the 8th day... 8 maids a milking - 8 beatitudes.
on the 9th day... 9 drummers drumming - 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit.
on the 10th day... 10 piper's piping - the 10 commandments.
on the 11th day... 11 ladies dancing - 11 faithful apostles.
on the 12th day... 12 lords a leaping - 12 points of belief of the apostles creed.

So now that I know the meaning behind the story of this Christmas carol, I am sure that other Christmas carols may also have a backstory. Have a Happy Christmas Eve with your families around the world...

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Exhibitions, graduations and very busy lead up to Christmas...

It's been a very eventful month leading up to Christmas in attending a couple of graduations of our youngest (from pre-school programmes), end of break ups for my class, work and other groups that I'm associated with and was also able to squeeze in a book launch at my old primary school's 50th Jubilee celebrations (10th publication) and also made time to view a couple of art exhibitions: one at Auckland Art Gallery and another by a local artist and writer ZR Southcombe.

In fact, her story inspired me to start self publishing when my business mentor, at the time on, Jan 23, 2015 (my lil' sister's birthday) shared her story with me about being a teacher who was self publishing her own books. Up until that time, I had only thought about it but after that conversation, I realised that it was definitely possible to make it happen and the rest is history (herstory).

What's so amazing about Zee is that she is so versatile as an artist, writer and a authorpeneur (a new word I learnt in reading different blogs). She writes childrens/young adult books, zines (simplified versions of magazines), designs colouring books, and colouring events, is on the committee/s for writers and different community arts projects and even has time to host her first solo art exhibition which I really enjoyed and took my children to view. I think they really enjoyed the treats of cute cupcakes and a neat palette with iced colours (simply creative) and baked by her mum which was really neat!

Above is a pic of one of my favourite paintings featured at her exhibition called "Broken Beautiful" earlier this month at Youthline, Papatoetoe. As my favourite colour is indigo blue, the colour palette that she chose for some of her paintings really appealed to me and happily bought some of her Christmas cards reproductions! which I am sure you are able to view on her website of as well as to view some of her many wonderfully creative creations.

I, unfortunately, was unable to stay for the book launch of her latest book "I am an artist" which is a great resource for art teachers and bidding artists as I had another family function to attend to. As a fellow self-published writer/artist I'm privileged to be asked to work with her on a project which is always so encouraging and inspiring to do. Looking forward to what the new year has in store...

Monday, 12 December 2016

On viewing Gottfried Lindauer's "Maori Portraits" exhibition...

The Maori Portraits by Gottfried Lindauer exhibition till Feb 2017
Had a great time during my weekend class trip into town to view the "The Maori Portraits" exhibition by Gottfried Lindauer (1839 - 1926) at the Auckland Art Gallery just down the road from my old University of Auckland (as an alumni). 

Back then I didn't have time to go to the Art Gallery with so many lectures to keep up with and spent most of my time in the library, gym or study rooms. Although I did study Art History in my first year as an undergrad. Since those days, I've been a few times to the Art Gallery with the most memorable as Rita Angus (NZ artist) and Claude Monet's paintings (Impressionist artist).

It was amazing to view Lindauer's lifelike portraits and also his larger paintings that showed aspects of village life for Maori in the 1800s. Below is one of interest from his collection as it depicts an aspect of the Maori cultural beliefs that I had only read about regarding how tohunga (Maori priest/shaman) were revered and also tapu (sacred) in that they were not to live within the pa (village) site but were often away from the villagers and only fed a special way.

Lindauer captures the special place of tohunga
There were more than 120 original paintings of both Pakeha (European) and Maori portraits and each told a different story. He was a trained artist and his portraiture was stunning realistic in his brush strokes and the ways he used light. It was amazing to be able to get up close and see the the details of his paintings and how the facial tatoos of the Maori leaders looked so realistic.

We were also able to view video footage about the stories behind some of his portraits and one of the interesting portraits he painted 30 times (the same picture of a Maori woman carrying a baby) as he also used photography to assist in his paintings. Many of his portraits were oil on canvas and commissioned both from Maori and Pakeha. He painted with such painstaking detail and a limited palette in using similar colours for all his portraits.

The gallery exhibition is only there for another two months in the new year but I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the portraits and getting an insight into the stories behind the portraits and of that historical time period in the mid to late 1800s as it would have been about the time that my great great grandparents were alive in Samoa. Sadly, there are no paintings or photos that exists or am aware of and can understand how these are such treasures to family members who are able to see their ancestors facial features etc.

A highly recommended exhibition by a gifted artist from the colonial past informing post colonial nations ...

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Graduation and saying Goodbye to HIPPY in Mangere...

Our youngest's HIPPY graduation
It was so good to be with our youngest yesterday at her HIPPY (Home Instruction Programme for Pre-school youngsters) Graduation and to also have her Grandparents over from Samoa to witness the occasion.

It was a happy and sad occasion as our family had a great time with the other families with their 4 - 5 year olds as HIPPY is a 2 year programme that was founded in Israel and has been in NZ for around 20 years but it will no longer be continuing in the area.

I have been a HIPPY parent support for 4 times with my sister in 2000 - 2001, my eldest from 2005 - 2006, our middle child in 2009 (she was amazingly fast!) and now with our youngest from 2015 - 2016. Each year we'd work through 30 booklets and each child gets to keep several books that would be read with activities to go through.

However, we have now been told that HIPPY will no longer be operating in Mangere as there are other communities that will be offering it instead and it is sad to say Goodbye to such a neat programme that supports early English literacy and numeracy for pre-schoolers as they work through each booklet with their parent/caregiver supporter with the help of a tutor.

The graduation was another great occasion as I'd been to each of my child's graduations. Each graduate gets to wear a graduation gown with mortar board, they receive a framed certificate, samples from their workbook, gifts and a nice food table for them to eat and take home afterwards.

My aroha (love) goes to all the staff who will hopefully be redeployed and to all the neat staff in the past whom I've had the pleasure of working with. Thank you and much appreciation as it set up each of our children to do well in their schooling...
Saying goodbye to HIPPY

Friday, 9 December 2016

3 poems published in "a fine line" NZ Poetry Society online magazine (Nov 2016)...

 Me, Afamasaga Agnes Rasmussen, Prof. Konai Helu Thaman
and Alice Meredith at AUT University (South campus)
30 Nov 2016
It was indeed a privilege to meet with noted Professor and poet Konai Helu Thaman last month (a November blog) from the University of the South Pacific (USP in Fiji) and I'll always remember being touched by her poem "You, the choice of my parents" as a young student and then later teaching it to my senior students in high school when I taught English.

And in my busyness of last month, I forgot to write about being featured in "a fine line" an online magazine by the NZ Poetry Society in which I submitted some poems for publication in the magazine and was asked to be the feature poet in which the editor chose 3 poems for publication. She described them as "three illuminating poems" which made me smile. They are as follows:
  1. First childbirth
  2. What's in like in your world?
  3. When Royalty dies
The first poem I wrote was written several years ago when I considered my earlier fear of the pain of giving birth that I had heard so much about before having my first child. I remember as a young adult being so interested in body building at University during my undergraduate and post-graduate years and I'd read about Women body builders who discussed that having undergone intense weight training, as I had done those early years, that it helped psychologically with the pain and I totally agree with them in having given birth naturally with my three children without epidural although I went through lots of ice and the laughing gas didn't make me laugh at all. Ha ha. (And it's a good thing my husband didn't hold my hand as I would have crushed it - no joke :)

The second poem was again written a few years ago when I watched a documentary about a city in USA where many homeless people lived in cardboard boxes under bridges. This phenomenon happens all over the world and I was aware of it also in Auckland city under Grafton Bridge in town.

The third poem I also wrote many years ago when I considered 3 iconic popular culture idols of the 20th century i.e. Elvis Presley, Princess Diana and Michael Jackson. In life, they were considered "larger than life" and the paparazzi would follow them with magazine articles and they photos everywhere. However, their deaths were often peppered with sad stories and wanted to consider how, in effect, we are all similar in being called to die at some point in time, despite fame or fortune.

Any comments and thoughts would be greatly appreciated :)

First Child Birth

With the onset of my first child birth
pending, so promising
I pensively ask many a mother experienced in this
“What was it like? The pain?”
Worried, a little anxious, inexperienced

The replies came:
- You don’t want to know
- It’s like pushing an elephant through a pea hole
- Being hit by a bus, again and again
- Forget it! Epidural’s where it’s at
- C-section, go for an elective caesarean

Wow! so varied, so confusing
so scary.

My palagi midwife older, childless
“no worries,” she says
“Pacific women are stronger,
they handle the pain.”

What’$ it like in Your World?

What’$ it like in Your world?
where money $peaks it$ mind
and violence is the friction of
rubbing note$
You po$$e$$ magnificent magazine palace$ of
Exqui$itely $culptured lawn$
and coiffured tre$$e$
those $cenic height$ that $pan a panoramic view
As Your $leek wheel$
glide pa$t
i inhale your du$t
do You see me
in my cardboard box?

When royalty dies

When the King of rock died
It was 1976 and I was in my last year of primary school
bravely checking in new fillings in a dentist chair whilst listening to the radio
I couldn’t believe it!
We sung to your velvet Elvis voice
and danced to your rhythmic pelvis thrusting songs.
I ran home that day to tell my parents
then later watched TV as the whole world mourned their loss.
How you seemed to have it all
Cut down before your comeback
How unhappy you were.
When the Princess of the people died
it was 1999 and I was at an educational meeting
when a late arrival announced the news
I couldn’t believe it!
I remembered in 1983 how we had met in my last year of high school
I bravely shook your oh-so-soft hand and watched them take photos of you, your son
and husband at Government house.
I drove home that day to tell my family
then later watched TV as the whole world mourned their loss.
How you seemed to have it all
cut down after your prime
How unhappy you were.
When the King of pop died
It was 2009 and I was in my last year of a tertiary teaching contract
I visited my parents with my children when my father announced the news
I couldn’t believe it!
I’d danced to ‘Thriller’ at a high school assembly
and believed that we could ‘heal the world’ and ‘make it a better place’.
We drove home that day to tell my husband
then later watched TV as the whole world mourned their loss.
How you seemed to have it all
Cut down before your comeback concert
How unhappy you were

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust

Thursday, 8 December 2016

"Standing Rock" and our own "Ihumatao"...

It has been interesting to follow the "Standing Rock" protests over sacred land/waterways etc. with the threat of being desecrated or polluted by an oil pipeline being built through their lands and it was very encouraging to see the defeat of the oil companies now having to re-route to yet another space to take their pipeline through. Although, we hear that it's not entirely over as money speaks it's language and there is much to lose for this company and investors.

In teaching and learning more about Indigenous Research space my class has followed events in Dakota through Facebook feeds and also articles and discussions. It was encouraging to see Maori and the Maori haka engaging with Sioux representatives as so many of the issues for indigenous peoples are worldwide and I wanted my class to see the subtle differences but also the similarities.

We, of course, have our own "Standing Rock" right here on the outskirts of Mangere, close to our Auckland International aiport, in fact, only minutes away where a quiet community of Maori have lived for many centuries are now being threatened with the very sure objective of 480 urban houses being built right on/next to their sacred lands.

The land was originally confiscated back in the 1860s for tribes who didn't agree with the sovereignty of the Queen of England and they were told to move to the Waikato or face the crown's wrath. Most did but when they were able to return, laws had been put in place and they only had a small area "reserved" for them to stay on which they still live on to this day.

However, with encroaching urban sprawl, over the years the English settlers who had "bought" the land off the crown, started making quite a profit over the years and have parceled and sold land to make quite a sizeable profit. One of the last of these was a big block of land at Ihumatao close to where the Maori village is which was bought for around 19 million $ by one of the biggest, if not the biggest development company, Fletcher lifestyle, and now they face eminent development against their wishes.

If "Standing Rock" is anything to go by, there is now a shift in the wind and things that the crown/government used to get away with a couple of centuries ago, no longer are the acceptable and are being challenged non-violently. Ihumatao is awaiting the verdict and when the first bulldozers and soil turning ceremony begins that's when protesting will move into action and we will have our own massive protest just waiting to begin on our back doorsteps.

I hope that Fletchers "re-routes" it's position and looks for other lands to develop. Ones that don't have the history and the sacredness that these sacred lands possess. I hope they learn from "Standing Rock" that it's not over, even when their fat purses sing...

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

50th Jubilee Dinner invite and commemorate glass
 It was such a privilege to attend my old primary (elementary) school's 50th Jubilee celebrations which started last week with a dinner which I attended and then ended in a Cultural gala day where I was able to launch our 10th book (play script) "Sacred steps of Tigilau".

In looking back in retrospect, I think the school got me ready for understanding a lot of the dynamics that I would face in my education journey. In starting in a school that was primarily European and I was often the only Samoan in the class throughout my primary school days.

The school composition has now changed and Samoans are the predominant population of the school with Tongans, Maori and Niueans also in numbers but few, if any Europeans now attend the school.

The school also now has a Samoan bilingual unit which recently celebrated it's 21st birthday with a curriculum that begins at Year 0 (new entrants) with 100% immersion in Samoan; Juniors: 20% English and 80% Samoan; Middle: 50% English/Samoan; Seniors (Middle/Intermediates): 80% English and 20% Samoan. I'm not sure how this works out but in watching the cultural dance performances on the day, it was neat to note how confident they were in their culture and something that I never experienced in school until I reached high school.

So there has been a major shift in the population of Mangere which was once predominantly Maori in the early 1800s and now in 2016 predominantly a Pasifika population with Maori and a growing Muslim Indian/Fijian Indian population with a Muslim school for locals.

What I did learn from being "different" from a young age was that I continued onto University in the early years, and it was a norm for me to be the only Pasifika/Samoan person in my classes especially in majoring in English and Geography, and as I negotiated my way through the maze of educational institutions and now into writing and publishing, I hope as I walk through that it opens the doors for many other Pasifika peoples to take up the opportunity to see that they too can try forging new pathways for careers and through taking calculated risks.

The picture below was one taken of a Cook Islands dance troupe who entertained through their "Around the world" drum dance. This is always a funny spectacle as the male dancers will pick unsuspecting women to dance (hula style) and the female dancers pick men from the audience to dance (male hula style) with in a knee knocking type dance. Being brought up in a Pacific Islands church environment, and in joining a dance group, I got to learn how to dance to the Cook Islands drum dance and when I watched the audience dancers up on the dance floor, I couldn't help chuckling and smiling to myself.

I think it's why I like the "Moana" movie so much in that as a primary school student, I missed out on learning my own culture through my formal education but at church I was fully immersed in culture and Christianity. Now when I see my former primary school celebrating culture, I am so thankful that education and movies have shifted to see the importance and relevance of children's home language and culture as relevant in the classroom to the world.

And now I also contribute to write books about important stories to pass onto our next generations...

Cook Islands group dance at the Robertson Road School 50th Jubilee celebrations

Monday, 5 December 2016

Pacific Hibiscus in God NZone.. and now in Treviso, Italy...

Pacific Hibiscus in God NZone (Feb 2016)
It's finally online! my first painting on exhibition in Italy as one of 210 New Zealand artists (both emerging and established) in the Imago Mundi world collection through the Bennetton Foundation and such a privilege to be a part of this collection. The link is above if you would like to see more of the exhibition in both NZ and around the world.

The amazing part about it was that the curator had seen some of my artwork online and then invited me to be a part of the NZ Collection. I remember when in Intermediate (middle school) one of my art pieces was chosen to go in an Auckland school's exhibition collection. I remember I had screen printed Maori/Pacific designs onto a white pillow case and my family and I went to see it featured in town somewhere. I was about 11 years old at the time and never really thought to pursue art seriously as a career but now I am able to enjoying expressing ideas through art in self publishing books. Quite an amazing turn.

The above piece has a story to it and it features some things that are important to me. The star is likened to the Christmas story. The panel on the left details my Samoan heritage and these particular patterns I have doodled on so many books over the past as I'd attend meetings and discussions and now features in a lot of my artwork. The various other panels are symbolic of my parents leaving Samoa and moving to NZ via boat hence the waves and my love of the tropical sea/waters. The pandanus weaving of mats and the flax of my now NZ homeland and pacific patterns depicting my strong identity as a SamoaNZ women.

This is such a neat surprise and gift as we move towards Christmas celebrations...

Sunday, 4 December 2016

With Christmas Day just around the corner...

Just Christmas day just around the corner thought to post up one of my favourite acapella singing artists, Peter Hollens. I think he's based in Oregon in the US which I visited several times in my youth when I travelled up and down the Pacific South West coast from California, through to Oregon and up to Washington State, i.e. Seattle and later to Vancouver in Canada. Those were the days and now looking forward to my family also travelling to the US as on our travel plans in the not too distant future, Lord willing.

In fact, my older two couldn't get over how big Oahu was and so unlike the Pacific Island nations that we had visited on Fiji, Samoa (Upolu and Savaii Islands) that Honolulu looked very much like a tropical version of Brisbane which is quite built up unlike the very tropical island nations that we are used to.

This particular song, I enjoy in how he uses only his voice as a musical instrument to convey the meaning and emotions of the song. Really neat and also reminds me of the reason for the season without having to preach about it. The funny thing is that in NZ, we enjoy a summer Christmas season in the Southern hemisphere and in the US and England it's a usually a white wintery Christmas. So very different in my jandals!

Will also be posting other favourite Christmas songs that I've loved over the years and especially in how in this post-modern age, how this generation puts a modern spin on these traditionally long loved Christmas carols and songs.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

10th book launch at Robertson Road School 50th celebrations...

Book blessing at Robertson Road School 50th celebration Gala
2 Dec 2016
Yesterday saw the launch of our 10th book in the play series called "Sacred steps of Tigilau". It was written for my former high school: Nga Tapuwae College (now known as Southern Cross campus) in 1995 when I was an English teacher at another South Auckland high school and the Drama teacher at the time, Louise Creegan, produced and directed this amazing school production with her senior drama students that year.

The actual launch was incorporated into the 50th Jubilee celebrations of my former primary school called Robertson Road school. I was a pupil there between 1970 - 1976 when there were many Pakeha/Papalagi (European) students and there were few Pasifika or Maori students. Now there are many more Pasifika and Maori students and few if any Pakeha students.

It was neat to be able to share this moment with them as a past pupil and to give a brief talk about the books that I'd written and the theme to the books. I think for me it's about writing on things that are important to me and that's my cultural heritage which was missing for me during my elementary years at school. And the plays incorporate stories of Pasifika mythology that many of our young people may not be aware of if they have been born and raised outside of a Pacific Island.

All in all, it was a neat day and it was so nice to come back as an author to the school and to share my story and hopefully many will consider aiming for their dreams and making it happen. Another neat occurrence was having my parents fly in from Samoa to be at the launch and also in prepping for my sister's 21st birthday next month. It was so neat to share with them in the celebration of this milestone.

We later celebrated with dinner and a cake to honour this special occasion and looking forward to the new year and what it will bring...