Monday, 15 May 2017

First fieldtrip - EOTC Education outside the classroom...

Image result for mit south campus exhibition Looking forward this weekend to take my first fieldtrip with my Semester A class to the MIT campus in Manukau to view the "Auckland Stories - Taku Tamaki" exhibition which has a range of neat exhibits and also traces the history of the city of Manukau right back to the first known explorers and traces some of the main events to where we are today.

It's a good exhibition that sets that scene for the rest of the research which our class will be undertaking. I can share my understanding of the geography of the area and also have a shared discussion about some of the local areas and histories that class members are aware of.

The neat privilege of teaching this class is that it gives a chance to those who are either graduates, undergraduates or have not undergone any formal studies to get a taste of research in the sense that we do it daily without even giving it the formal term as for me, research is a daily/weekly activity that I undertake i.e. you don't have to have a degree to undertake research and that's one of the premises that I teach to demystify the term but to also discuss the differences between indigenous and western research models.

The other neat privilege about teaching this class is that I get to teach monthly weekend classes which require the class to be together for the weekend with shared meals from Friday night through to Sunday lunch time and this gives ample time for class members to get to know each other and also to talk in depth about the various topics that we undertake to discuss with the resources at hand via the library or internet.

We also have Tuesday weekend tutorials with an option of either a morning or evening tutorial whereby the class is able to discuss the weeks reading, the homework that is always set, to discuss the upcoming assessments and to generally learn new, often challenging, sometimes trying perspectives that may or may not equate with accepted non or indigenous practices.

But at the monthly weekend classes, the first half of Saturdays are for EOTC as it's called here as Education outside the classroom which I definitely encourage in that research should definitely not be just through the reading of books and literature but it's also about getting out into the community and observing, listening, considering, critically thinking, questioning etc. what is actually happening at a grass roots level.

To that end, we will also be climbing Mangere Mountain with a tour guide from the Mangere Education centre to get a better understanding of the Maori history behind the mountain, it's naming and the significance of the mountain from an indigenous perspective. We'll then have lunch together, weather permitting, and then retrace our steps back to campus for a debrief and more learning activities.

So much to do, so little time :) ...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Happy Mothers Day...

Happy Mothers Day to all our special ladies out there who have taken on a special but often challenging role of these juggling so many things in order to make the role of a mom happen. You deserve to be spoilt today despite the commercialisation of the day.

I think of my own mom who taught me so much and that I've taken on and continued teaching to my own children. Her creative skills and resourcefulness, I'm definitely not as skilled a home cook as she is but when pressed to can also whip up a batch of cookies or general meals.

Looking forward to her arrival from Samoa in a couple of days time and remembering the days that my dad would get us up early to make breakfast for her but then to also go to visit my grandmother to wish her a special day before she would go to church.

It's these special days that I think we owe it to ourselves to make it special for those who often sacrificed so much for us. I think of the times that my own mother made sure that I was okay as a kid with my aversion to the smell of petrol and often times I'd get carsick/boatsick/airsick and she was always there for me.

As mothers we also need to take time out of often busy roles as 'contemporary' mums to take a breather, a walk and enjoy a sunrise, a sunset, meditate and just enjoy the day without the rigours of pressing 'to do lists'. Even I need to take heed of my own advice to others.

May God Bless you all mum's and give you all and grant you a special day that is well deserved...

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Working Draft of 'Mana Mangere Writers' Collective'...

Quote Generator Today was the first day that our Writers' group officially came together to begin viewing the working draft of our first collection to be printed in a couple of months time. Our group was first established last year after I spoke with a few people and talked about getting a collection together and Indie publishing it.

It's quite exciting to be working with a group of writers with diverse backgrounds and experiences, viewpoints and a real privilege to be editing this collection. We have short story writers, poets, academic writers (like myself) with a range of topics, perspectives and all very talented. The previso being that participants must either work, study or live in Mangere.

What I find interesting also are the experiences within each story and poem that is being told and with a brief of written pieces being either to: encourage, inspire or educate the readers or audience and for future generations, I think each story carries its own weight.

The funny thing is that I haven't gone out to look for people except to advertise in various local digital media, my own networks and through word of mouth as I believe that the people who come forward are those who are meant to be in this group.

I also have to thank our communities' Mangere Otahuhu local board who have generously funded and are in support of this adventure and I hope that it will become one that will continue in time to come for a diverse community such as this.

I also would like to acknowledge the support of Sally, our local arts broker, who made the funding known to me in being able to access it for this neat project and all the various writers who are making their own dreams come true by sharing in this collection.

And it's only been two and a half years since I first self-pubished my first book so it's really neat to see the development in my own writing in now being in a position to be able to support other local writers' dreams to come true.

Camera, lights, action!...

Friday, 12 May 2017

"Sosefina" rendition by Fiji Veikoso...

One of my most fave Pasifika male recording artists of all time has to be 'Fiji' George Veikoso who hails originally from Fiji and also has Tongan ancestry and then moved to Hawaii and then to the US where his music developed for now over 2 decades. He was also influenced by a Samoan uncle in Fiji which gives him a very Pan Pacific feel to his music.

This song I originally heard from my parents tapes by a Samoan group called Tiamaa back in the 1970s. I absolutely loved their harmonies and remember some of their music about special relationships between family members.

This particular song that Fiji sings is a love song about a guy who proposes to a woman and wants to know if her feelings for him are the same. Really love this rendition of the origin and even when my beloved sings this song. Simply beautiful! The Samoan words are wonderfully metaphorical when translated into English too.

Another neat fact about Fiji is that he speaks Fijian and sings this song beautifully in pronunciation as a non-Samoan. He also sings Maori, Hawaiian and Tongan songs. I think a neat role model for our young Pasifika youth wanting to make it big in the music industry as he talks about not forgetting our roots, of being humble, of sharing our beautiful cultures and giving God the glory.

He was here in NZ earlier and you can check out his music on YouTube! Enjoy...

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Finally to view upcoming "The Shack" movie...

I'm a real big fan of the "faith movies" that are being released and especially looking forward (with some trepidation) of viewing the movie "The Shack". I read the book some years ago when my children were younger and it's a story about every parent's nightmare of their child being abducted and what can happen as a result.

The book left a big impression on me at the time of what I would do and feel and the main character goes through what so many parents would experience in feelings of fear, then relief and anger but the story is actually a lot more in that it speaks about our relationship with God which is at the core of the movie.

It took some time to understand the gist of the book but I think the writer, William P. Young, thought it through and it is well crafted and is often confronting as it is tragic. The book itself is summarized as being "where tragedy confronts eternity" and I would definitely recommend reading the book before watching the movie to get full understanding of the intentions of the author.

The short bio in the book describes William P. Young as being a Canadian who was raised by missionary parents in the highlands of New Guinea. It says that he suffered loss as a child and young adult but lives with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

Definitely a book worth reading, and a movie worth watching as tragic as it may seem...

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Today was a neat day with my family as we attended church together at Life South which is located in Manukau, Auckland.

It's a multicultural church with a neat vision of supporting our communities and also reaching out to those who are needing/wanting to look after their families within a Christian faith.

Next week we have our annual 4 day conference with the theme of "More". I'll be going to the evening sessions with work but my beloved will be attending the whole conference which will be neat for him as he also leads a men's group and supports dads and single men in pursuit of what God has in store for them too.

Today, at church was a surprise for me as one of the ushers in church was a past pupil whom I taught some 20+ years ago and she had come into mind a couple of weeks ago and I had wondered what had happened to her as she had had some troubling times. Today I found out that she was doing well and worked in my suburb not far from where I work/live.

It also reminded me of the time when I was an English teacher that one of my favourite things to set and read was writing journals in that each week I'd set a few topics for students to write on and students could choose what to write about. It was a personal communication with me and some students didn't think much of it but others took it seriously and I came to know students well in some of the things they shared.

After church we went to a Korean buffet restaurant, for the first time, for a meal and were nicely surprised at the healthy menu which had many dishes that we were not so familiar with but tasted nice. Our children particularly enjoyed the tasty dumplings and various dishes. We definitely want to return for another tasty treat and neat not to have to cook on a Sunday after church...

Saturday, 6 May 2017

"The Case for Christ" movie review...

Went today with my elder two to watch the movie "The case for Christ" as mentioned in an earlier blog. After watching it, I must say I was pleasantly surprised as to the information that the movie gave about the various evidences that confirm that there was indeed a resurrection of Jesus that has changed the face of the earth since its inception.

The movie was based on a true story and I thought what was interesting about Lee Strobel (the main character) was the many different arguments that he came up with to try to disprove that there was indeed a man called Jesus, let alone a resurrection.

Journalism is a genre of writing that is based on facts and his attempt to try to disprove his wife's faith was indeed intriguing. I think that even many Christians may go through a time of questioning whether their based is faced on fact especially in a time when technology and scientific theories reign supreme.

I think I came out of watching the film affirmed that what I believe in still holds true in a type of 'blind faith' whereby I trust because of what I have seen, experienced or felt. It also answered my youngest's question which was why I believe what I believe and that it is based on the very experiences that prove that there is more to believe than not to.

Another faith movie that I am also looking forward and that I watched the trailer at this movie is called "The Shack". When I first read the book some years ago, I thought that it would make a tragic type of movie that would also show triumph. Looking forward to when this happens and will take my family along for those who are interested...

Monday, 1 May 2017

Painting up new book to be released in June...

In between mommy/wife duties, studying, working and relaxing have started painting up our next English/Samoan bilingual picture book ready for a book launch around Samoan language week (27 May to 3 June).

This is quite exciting because I haven't painted up canvases for a book since last year as have been very busy with my new job in teaching and studying too. However, it is quite relaxing in taking time out of thinking or planning to paint up each board which takes several hours per canvas.

The new book is about a Samoan cultural phenomenon which is dying out quite rapidly because of limited natural resources but also because the art of making it is only in the hands of a few. The story explains the origins as I've researched and it's the only story that I've come across that sounds genuine of it's kind.

I'm also hoping that the canvases will be ready to display at the 'Pacific Hibiscus' exhibition at Mangere Arts Centre during Samoan language week with workshops for local schools during Samoan language week.

I haven't released any new books so far this year due to the 2 community projects i.e. community exhibition and workshops and coordinating a book by local writers that I'm working on so this book will be the first of a few that I have planned for this year. Never a dull moment...