Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Upcoming February bike challenge...

Image may contain: outdoor, text and nature Have added my name to the Aotearoa Bike Challenge and looking forward to making it happen. As a child I used to love riding my bike all over the place except that my parents said not to ride it on the road and to stay close to home, so with that I rode up and down the footpath, close to home and couldn't wait until the weekends when I could ride my bike all day Saturday.

That of course changed when I got a car and getting to places was a lot faster plus 'back in the day' I was 15 years old when I got my full licence. Now there are so many hoops to jump through before gaining a full licence but there are also many more people on the roads now and so much to learn.

So now it's back to bike riding again. I've been riding on and off and I trained for a Duathlon (walk/run and bike) a few years back and also for work on our "Tau Ora" fitness programme but now need to dust off my new bike that I bought for myself last year and peddle those wheels again. I also have a stationary bike but it's just not the same.

If you are interested in joining up, just click on the link above on: www.aotearoa.bike and register online. You can join up as an individual or be a part of a work group with prizes to win and other neat treats. I'm just doing it for fun and it's a good excuse to get up early and to watch the sunrise whilst pedalling those wheels around for fitness and fun.

Why not give it go?...

Monday, 30 January 2017

"Hidden Figures" movie review and other hidden figures...

I really enjoyed watching the "Hidden Figures" movies about some of the stories of African American woman who worked at NASA in the 1950s in an historical time when there was a race for space i.e. a race between Russia (USSR) and America to be the first country to set a man on the moon.

This movie was based on a book that I had heard some woman talk about in my EdD class (she's a science major) and I wanted to read it but just got to busy to read so decided to watch the movie instead. It's definitely an inspirational movie about overcoming obstacles and never giving up and one which some of my students also watched.

The movie follows the story of 3 African American women in the prejudice and racist times of America, in a time of segration, who worked in NASA, of which I hadn't been aware of, and we discover that they each made significant contributions to being the first nation to set a man on the moon when most people thought that it was only through Europeans' contributions in the USA.

In teaching the Indigenous Research course, I can't but help wonder about the other "hidden figures" and that's the absence of what I'm calling the "invisible people/stories" of the indigenous people of the land. As in NZ, Samoan are often toted as a group who had significantly contributed to the NZ arts, educational, political etc. communities alongside Maori as the indigenous people but with the ative Americans, or first nations peoples, their presence are often absent in US movies.

I highly recommended movie that will not only inspire but enjoy...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Happy Birthday to our beautiful middle child...

Happy Birthday to our beautiful middle child. We are so blessed to have one so talented and caring in our family.

Being the middle child isn't always easy with the youngest often getting a lot of the attention and the eldest high expectations and responsibility.

That was what I remembered being the middle child in my family in growing up, so happy that I didn't have the responsibility of my elder sister but also happy not to get the attention that my younger brother got.

So may our middle one have a blessed day and be blessed on this special summers day. Lots of alofa from your aiga...

Thursday, 26 January 2017

A new Mangere Writers group publication and invitation...

Image result for new book A neat announcement of inviting local unpublished writers who either live, work or study in Mangere who would like to send contributions to be shortlisted towards a short stories/poetry collection that I hope to publish and launch at the Mangere Town Centre library around Aug/Sept 2017.

This is a great opportunity to meet and share with like minded people who enjoy crafting words and shaping thoughts through writing that can often challenge, move, persuade, inform or peak interest etc. on issues and stories that are relevant to our community.

At the end of last year, I was given the opportunity to register my interest in applying for funding that would benefit the community in the area of the arts. This was one of 2 projects that was proposed and both have been given approval by our local board to be funded. Wow! much appreciated.

It's now to get a team of writers, some of whom I've already been working with and others whom I'm yet to meet to work together on this pilot publication and if all goes well, we look forward to continuing to work on this type of initiative for local writers.

The intention of the publication is to give voice to our local writers to discuss issues, ideas, thoughts etc. and to share these stories locally, nationally and even internationally. I'll be editing this book and look forward to publishing a book that can be used in local schools, tertiary institutions and within families and organisations to use.

Looking forward to sharing about this in futures blogs as it develops...

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Happy 21st Birthday to my lil' sis...

Image result for happy 21st birthdayA big shout out to my lil' sis (who's not so little anymore) on the occasion of her 21st birthday yesterday. I've seen her grow from a lil' baby now to a knowledgeable young woman who is now in her second year of studying towards a Bachelor of Social Work.

There are many sides to my sis: she's creative and amazing at painting, printing and drawing; great to crack up (laugh with) a neat sense of humour and very easy to get on well with but also very loyal and fun to be with when entertaining my kids.

She also loves animals and has a soft side to her but very physically strong that many wouldn't want to mess around with. She's sporty, an all rounder and not afraid to try something new - a bit of a daredevil but also grounded as I see her maturing.

She loves music and is self taught in guitar, piano and playing computer games. A little competitive at times and not afraid to speak her mind. Confident and caring and loves our parents although she balances it by giving them a hard time every now and then to keep things real :)

So a big "HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY" to my lil sis. I hope that life treats you kindly and that you will be blessed with what lies ahead. I wish all the best in love, life and living and trust that God will grant you all the happiness that you deserve. Lots of alofa(s) from your aiga...

Friday, 20 January 2017

South Auckland Research Centre...

 This week I went to visit the Manukau Research library which I hadn't realised had been incorporated into the Manukau library and is now known as the Manukau library and South Auckland Research centre.

What's interesting about this particular centre, located on the second floor of the library, is that it also includes access to the New Zealand Family History resources that gives information records such as Births, Deaths and Marriages, Cemetery records, census data, family histories, immigration, military, school lists etc.

This is particularly helpful for those, such as my students, who are wanting to complete whakapapa (genealogy) family trees or gain more understanding about a period in history or event that was often not taught about within their schooling.

I'll also be taking a group fieldtrip out there to assist in gathering information for completing online family trees on website as such: www.ancestry.com; www.familysearch.org.com; www.findmypast.co.nz; etc.

Happy researching...

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Image result for mangere arts centre Have been so busy with work, studies and so much to do but received some great news this week of having been successful in two grant proposals from our local Board and arts advisor for: a publication for a local writers group and funding towards my first local exhibition which will be held at Mangere Arts centre around mid year.

This is such a blessing as it was something that I had been wanting to do for a while both a publication that provides an opportunity for local unpublished writers to see their writing in print and also to invite local schools and any interested to an exhibition that offers an opportunity to meet with me, as a local writer, educator and artist and share my works and some of my story with a Q n A time.

So next week will finalise the contracts etc. and book venues, catch up with various key individuals and share this neat news with our local writers group with dates to be booked and plans to be made. Let the fun begin!

Again, this is a dream come true of being able to work within the local community with plans to share some of the knowledge that I've picked up over the years and to also inspire (whoever is interested) to pursue their goals despite the obstacles.

Roll on 2017...

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Healthy food lifestyle challenge...

This year, I've set myself up with a healthy food lifestyle challenge especially now in studying, working, writing and with family commitments. I'm working on eating healthily throughout the week (or as much as possible) and then taking it easy on the weekends.

Presently, my favourite breakfast to wake up to is rice crackers with hummus (which you can make yourself with chick peas) and a slice of tomato and seaweed (usually found on top of sushi but now able to buy at several supermarkets).

I call it my "brain food" which also includes salads, corn (although not everyone would agree), fruit and lots of water and fresh air as I'm not a big fan of air conditioners be it in cars or in the house. I've not been a big fan of red meat and recently in giving blood the test showed my iron levels as being lower.

So need to up my intake of green leafed veges or back to read meat although I'd rather not and prefer fish if need be. I've been also told that ensuring that I get enough sleep i.e. 8 hours at least helps towards healthy outcomes so I do try to go back to sleep after I get up at 3 or 4 am as my brain seems to like to work overtime.

Next up is my fitness regime which is getting underway but that's for another day. Suffice to say that the brain food is working :) ...

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Rewards in being a writer/author...

One of the greatest rewards of now being a writer is seeing some of my books on library shelves or discussing ideas in the books with readers and sharing the backgrounds about the stories that do get to print because often, as a writer, there are so many stories to share but only the most relevant get to print.

It's also a privilege to have my book sit alongside other writers of whom I've admired growing up and also in different genre as some of my books in to the picture book/teaching resources section and the play scripts and poetry collection is categorised in the literature/fiction section of the library.

So yesterday when I was in a local library with my eldest child, it was a pleasant surprise to view the books on the shelf. I remember, starting in primary school, that I loved to go to the library to choose books to take home with me to read. I was a prolific reader at the time and I'd often get in trouble for reading after the lights were meant to turned off at night.

I also enjoyed taking out craft books on how to create pieces of art and even origami books (Japanese art of paper folding) as I enjoyed creating images out of paper and going through the process of following instructions and problem solving to recreate a final artwork that matched the picture.

In fact, I remember as a young girl sometimes sneaking off to read a good book when everyone else was busy in the kitchen or doing chores because I didn't like to put a good book down. I would liken it to going on a journey in a dream and not wanting to be disturbed until the very end.

So that is why I write for a number of audiences i.e. the picture books for children or visually stimulated people (like myself), for youth in my plays and for those who like to think deeply about things in my poetry collections and upcoming short stories and novels.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Teaching, Lecturing, Tutoring in Indigenous Research...

Te Wananga o Aotearoa info leaflet for Cert. in Indigenous Research
Back to work today after a great holiday season with my family as my Indigenous Research class looks forward to four more months of studies before a final presentation towards graduation at the year's end of this Semester B, full year course.

It has been quite a journey so far in that as a EdD (Doctoral studies in Education) candidate with AUT University, North Shore (Auckland) it really made me re-consider the way/s that I had been taught about how to conduct research in the past from a very western or European perspective to now take into account indigenous perspectives and principles.

However, the interesting thing that I found was that in my first Masters thesis and fieldwork that I undertook and wrote about Samoa was that in being brought up in the faaSamoa (albeit offshore from the motherland) that it was within authentic setting/s within principles that I had been taught, I naturally then applied it to the ways that I conducted my research.

This has been one of the enlightening concepts that has affirmed me in the work that I've engaged with so far but has especially challenged me in ways that I need to be writing i.e. as an author of the information to pass on to the next generations and especially youth in the values and knowledge of Pasifika and Maori peoples.

The neat and exciting part of the studies/course for my students now is to carefully choose a (small bite sized) topic that they would like to apply an indigenous framework to and then research and present their findings by April. And the neat thing for me will be the privilege of guiding them on their journeys towards new understandings.

I would definitely recommend this course for educators and interested students who identify with being indigenous peoples but also for those educators or students who are working with indigenous people or who self identify within their indigeniety. What I particularly found interesting in teaching this course was that it definitely challenged the status quo but it also gave guidelines and interesting alternatives for students or "researchers" to go about their research with indigenous principles in mind rather than just generic.

I definitely have come out of teaching halfway through this course more wiser in the processes and also affirmed about what it currently happening in education for Maori outside mainstream. Maori researchers do not engage with the term "research" but rather use "rangahau" as their terms of reference which in actual fact is very different from wester research per se.

If you are, or if you know of any who would like to take them fees free, level 4 course based at the Mangere campus via noho (10 monthly weekends and one morning/evening weekly tutorial) for Semester A, please do contact me as there are only a few spaces left.

It's a definitely challenging course, for graduates as well as undergraduates and not one for the faint hearted as some of the issues that are discussed relate to historical events that have had dire consequences on many indigenous cultures. It is definitely one that I would recommend to every educator working in South Auckland with indigenous children/youth or with those who identify with Pasifika or Maori indigeniety. A definite eye-opener and you will never think the same!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Donating blood since 1980s...

 One of the community services that I started back when I first started at University in the mid 1980s was in becoming a regular blood donor. In fact, the services would come at least annually and a whole lot of University students would line up, including me, to give their "pint of blood".

Back then most of us would do it, not only to assist our communities but also for the free chocolate biscuits and cordial that they would give out for donors before (if you hadn't had breakfast) and after giving your blood donation. I remember one particular time that I did it and I had just come out of the my regular gym session and it was a cold winters day and the nurse laughed at how warm the blood seemed. I laughed it off and explained that it might have to do with my full on gym session.

I also remember that I gave so often, well over 20 sessions (I was told yesterday) that my arm shows evidence of having had some needle sessions with a depressed area where the nurse chose to continually dig their needle in. So no, I've never been a druggy, so don't judge a person because of their needle scars :) ha ha.

But since starting my family, I haven't been as regular and it was especially due to an incident when I gave blood and the next day I had a very bruised arm where the nurse had been digging around to get the best position for blood flow. From then I vowed that I wouldn't be back for quite some time but because I know that it helps, I do from time to time give if it feels right.

I know that for some cultures, it's not right to give blood as it is sacred and for some religions such as "Jehovah Witness" they refuse blood transfusions due to a similar belief. I do have mixed feelings as often I do wonder about whether as a Christian it's mine to give in the first place as it is very sacred but I've also had family members go into surgery and have blood transfusions and I'm very grateful that those people did.

Again, yesterday when I went into the give blood the nurse started to move the needle for a better blood flow and today I see that there is bruising again, so it's going to be quite some time before I'll be donating again but still am supportive of being able to support an organisation that helps out others.

Do you or would you give blood?

Friday, 6 January 2017

Watching "Trolls" with 1980s music...

Yesterday, took my younger ones to watch the movie "Trolls" and enjoyed it with so many funny references that I could relate to which I'll discuss in this blog. What I firstly found so very interesting, was the 1980s music that made me reminiscene of those days gone by and how the music was now being remade into the movie that this generation would learn especially the song "Hello" by Lionel Richie (who is still going strong!).

It was also neat on how colourful it was. Definitely wouldn't interest those who like to look at the "darker" side of things and also the fact that they seemed to scrapbook (in felt material) a lot of the events which was such a laugh as I was so into Scrapbooking when I first had my children and scrapbooked lots of their photos into albums but with my youngest I don't as much as I did with my older ones.

Although it was an "underdog vs the established power" movie as in the Trolls were initially cannabalised at an annual tribute to the assist the powers that be to become happy. It was an interesting concept as Trolls in my growing up were seen as nasty as in "The billy goats gruff" fairytale of old but now in the 2000s they are actually the good guys.

Without spoiling the end (although you probably would guess what happens as in most "G" rated movies) I enjoyed the "I can't help the feeling" song by Justin Timberlake who so happened to be the voice of one of the main characters who was in the movie and would have had us dancing out of the movie theatre at the end if I didn't have to clean up after the snacks that we had.

All in all, it was a neat "feel good" movie that will have you feeling good for the rest of the day...

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Begging in the New Year...

Yesterday, as my family and I went to pick up some food at a local takeaway, I realised just how many individuals in our neighbour were now resorting to sitting outside dairies on plastic crates begging for money with a hat or a plastic cup/container that passerbys choose can put money into if they so wish to.

It seems that outside many local major supermarkets, dairies, bakeries, takeaway stores etc. individuals sometimes busk or talk to passerbys, or sing, or sit/stand silently as passerbys go about their daily routines. This is a worry as it seems to me as a condition of society and where we are as a nation, suburb, within families that the plight of people's financial conditions are taking to the street to show their desperation.

It's now becoming common to individuals lying down or sitting with blankets wrapped around them as people pass by some are even bringing pillows and allowing themselves to be exposed to those around them who may often comment or more often than not pass them by without saying a word.

Yesterday, one of my group gave money to two individuals seated outside the doors of a dairy: one was a Pacific mature woman and the other a mature European man. However, as we were about to leave in our car we witnessed a younger Pacific male who had been standing next to the older woman, to whom I'd seen talking with the older lady about a person that they knew in common, stand over her and seem to demand the money. She stood up and turned her back to him and then sat down again but because we were still watching them he seemed to aware and returned to where he stood next to her. We remained in the car and I could see from her facial expressions that she looked scared and seemed intimidated by him as he remained there.

We decided to best call the Police as this situation as we needed to leave and that the situation could escalate somewhat and also aware that although he could be a family member or a friend that this could also be a situation of elder abuse that often goes unchallenged or unaware within families.

We are not sure what happened afterwards but the Police said that they would send a unit to investigate the situation. This is worrying as I see more vulnerable elderly and as well as young people putting themselves into potentially dangerous situations with little means of support from the community.

Ten years ago, this didn't happen inside my neighbour although I was aware of it overseas in Canada, in the States and in Samoa but now it's becoming normalised in my local neighbour. It's also about looking out for our neighbour and keeping it safe out there...

Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year 2017...

Image result for happy new year 2017
Happy New Year to you all this year of 2017. Now that Christmas is over for another year with Christmas trees, lights and decorations to pack away until the end of the year, I've been blessed to have spent time with my family and also to be able rest and relax before work begins again with books planning underway.

With a goal of 5 more books to publish this year with 3 of them already accounted for and reprints to begin working on, it definitely keeps one busy on top of teaching and marking and also looking after my general health as well as spiritual and mental health. It looks like it's going to be another busy year with so much to look forward to.

I also have to start working on my studies and have some ideas on making it work for me with so much going on within my own family as our eldest enters her first year of National exams (NCEA National Certificate in Educational Achievement) and I remember (it doesn't seem that long ago) of studying and focusing for an entire year on passing all exams in my first year.

With our younger children, it's also about building upon the foundation that they already have and sharing with them life experiences that will hold them in good stead for their years ahead. Although we never know what the future holds, for me, it's about giving our children an understanding of faith and love.

And wishing you all the best for 2017 in faith and love...