Saturday, 29 July 2017

Behind the scenes at Auckland Museum...

Today I had the fantastic privilege to take my students out on a research fieldtrip to visit Auckland Museum to have a 'behind the scenes' look at the taonga (precious artefacts) that were shared with us from the Pasifika staff there.

A big thanks to Barbara, Fuli (curator), Valerie, Ma'ara (archaeologist) and many others who made this possible. We also got to see indigenous research in action with a group of "knowledge holders" from Fiji who had a session to record stories behind some of the amazing artefacts that are housed in the Museum.

The pic shows us in the storage area where important material is carefully preserved and catalogued for many of the various thousands of artefacts and it was amazing to see how they are carefully stored with acid free, hands free spaces. Much like a vast library.

Some of the information that was shared with me also gave me important ideas that will inform future books as I see the importance of needing to share a lot of important information that hasn't been shared with our future generations and making it accessible to our communities and outside of academia and tertiary institutions.

This trip was a real blessing and a humbling experience to have been gifted with such knowledge that I am convinced must be shared that our children and generations to come so that they will know the incredible depth and breath that our seafaring voyaging ancestors indigenous intelligence and information that has been carried for some 3000 years and we are only beginning to break the surface of piecing together.

So much that wasn't taught to me in high school or university and so much that needs to be passed on it incredibly empowering to enrich the life and understandings of many yet to know of such amazing feats.

Wow! with more yet to come...

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Watching the latest Spiderman movie...

Got to watch the latest Spiderman movie and it was definitely a different from previous Spiderman movies which I think was to appeal to this generation of teens and die-hard Marvel comic book fans. I thought it definitely was in line with the Marvel franchise and storylines and neat to know that it might continue to other sequels in the future.

I still remember the 1980s, first spiderman movie that came out in that I thought it wasn't as good as I had pictured it especially in that the movie technology at that time didn't show him to have a lot of superpowers at the time. Compared to that earlier version, this spiderman was definitely high tech.

It was also interesting in that it didn't give the backstory of how Spiderman came to be for viewers and assumed that people would already know of how he got bitten by some mutated spider which came him the powers in the first place but it also didn't explain why he was living with his auntie.

All in all, I think it would appeal to a teenage audience in the way that they portrayed Spiderman more as a teenager who was learning how to use his powers and what some of his querks might be. Another interesting part was bringing together the villain of the story as the father of his prom date very unexpected but a good turn of events.

A highly recommended movie for teens who like action with an underdog story...

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Visiting Otuataua Stonefields on fieldtrip...

Visiting Otuataua Stonefields with my class
One of the neat things about teaching the Cert. in Indigenous Research course is taking my students out on field trips around Auckland and today we went to visit the Otuataua Stonefields historical reserve which is a 5 - 10  min drive from Auckland airport.

The interesting thing about the Stonefields is that although it has been occupied by European settlers back since the 1830s firstly as a missionary station and then after the land confiscation Act of the 1860s, European settlers were given the land to buy for cattle and sheep farming blocks of which many of the early settlers to this day have been remembered via the names of roads in and around the area.

The sad thing about it is that although it is known as one of the last remaining areas in Auckland that shows midden and underground lava caves that show that Maori occupied this land from around 1200 AD, the area around the reserve has now been designated for a Special Housing Area that will contain some 500 new houses with panoramic views, if the housing development is to go ahead which it is expected to do with a corporate development company Fletchers Housing ready to go forge ahead.

Today we were able to meet with Pania Newton who is heading the opposition of this land development with her group S.O.U.L. Save Our Unique Landscape and spearheading the discussion by going over to the UN in New York to bring the plight of the indigenous people of the area to an international audience as well as making the land issues known to local communities and nationally throughout NZ.

So my part in all this is to bring these issues to light with my students but also as a local writer to see what I can do to also support the local community with such issues and hoping to include their writing piece in our upcoming community book with more about that to come...

Monday, 24 July 2017

Listening to Pastor Robert Madu...

Yesterday, went to a great morning church service at Life (South Campus) and got to listen to Ps Robert Madu who was in NZ speaking at a conference and originally from Texas, USA. He was a pretty amazing communicator and also very entertaining but with a very important message about not comparing yourself to others but to run your race with the talents that you've been gifted with.

In thinking to blog about his message, I checked out his website and found that he talks all over the USA weekly and with overseas speaking engagements i.e. also at Hillsong, Sydney Australia etc. with his neat style of preaching which he says is "hollerback" preaching in which he likes it when people give feedback whilst he preaches.

He is also an African American i.e. father is from Nigeria and mother is a black American from the USA and he is married with two children. His anecdotes were so funny with this references to social media which he is a regular on as well as his references to black American culture.

Definitely someone neat to listen to with many messages on YouTube such as this interview but also many other speaking engagements that he's had all over America...

Friday, 21 July 2017

Watching "Cars 3"....

Today, took my youngest to watch 'Cars 3' with trailer above. I must say that it wasn't quite what I was expecting in that it looks like it might be the last of the 'Cars' movie franchise which is quite sad as I enjoyed the first and the second movie wasn't too bad but this movie was a little different.

If you are wanting to watch the movie yourself then read no further but if you're open to my brief review then continue reading. The movie starts with Lightening McQueen realising that there are now new and faster cars in the racing circuit and that a lot of his contemporaries are either retiring or they're being told to retire and making way for the next generation.

Lightening McQueens has to come to terms with this as well as being sold to another company. This is where he meets a female trainer who had wanted to be a racer but didn't and to cut the story short he goes back into racing and takes her with him.

I think the disappointing part for me was that they took out his mentor and didn't actually say what happened to him but they did show some of his friends which didn't apmake a lot of sense as it would have been neat to know what happened to him.

I think the movie itself was okay and made one realise that in time we all have to 'hang up our boots' and let the next generation take over and the end is an unexpected one but it does give a little more closure to the movie franchise.

All in all, it was a good movie to watch but a lot different maybe than one would have initially expected...

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The mispronunciation of names...

Today I saw a Facebook post on the mispronunciation of names and how people are still not saying Maori and Pasifika names correctly even after 50+ years of being educated within the NZ education system.

I can still remember when I was a child in having Helen as my first name which was easy to pronounce but when it came to my family name of: Tauau, it got mangled in it's pronunciation by non Pasifika/Maori teachers and I would cringe particularly at the beginning of the year when they would call out our names for new classes.

That's changed somewhat in that I've added the glottal stop to make it easier for non-Pasifika/Maori people to say it correctly and wouldn't change my name to fit into other people's perspectives.

I've known of woman who have changed their names or taken on European surnames in wanting to get rid of their Pasifika/Maori family names in being ashamed of them. It's the racism behind it which has caused such drastic measures for some because it made them feel belittled in having a 'foreign' Pasifika or Maori name.

It's this form of racism which is often not discussed in PC environments but one in which I am proud to keep my Samoan names and whenever people get it wrong in various forums, I will correctly pronounce it for them in knowing who I am and what these names stand for.

Our children shouldn't have to continue going through these mispronunciations and feeling inadequate to address so I most firmly take a position to confidently correct the mispronunciation and then to continue on with life because it's not my problem it's the mispronunciator's....

Monday, 17 July 2017

Painting the next book cover...

Just finished planning sketches for a book cover of a group contribution that is soon to be launched hopefully next month.

This will hopefully coincide with the National Poetry day of Friday the 25th of August as we have a few poets in the group and this gives them a chance to read their poetry to an audience.

Coordinating a group project is sometimes very difficult especially if some of the group do not use internet or are not very savvy or comfortable with smart phones, technology or social media communications.

It's so different to my own children who were brought up with computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. at home or at school and feel confident to use as opposed to those of my generation who find it quite daunting and sometimes difficult to work these technological gadgets.

And so I find myself as a mediator between techno gadgets and seeing the usefulness of them but also how they can also be a hindrance in giving them too much attention and not so much to personal relationships and advancing forward in goals etc.

So although there are online graphics that I could possibly use for my artwork, I still prefer the freehand method of painting and starting with sketches using coloured pencils etc. Imagination and creative flair are gifts that are given to us that we need to enhance and not rely solely on computer generated graphics and that's why I will still continue to paint...

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Thank you 275 times...

 A big thank you to 275 times for publishing a neat article in their latest July edition. In fact, it's been some 2 years since I first started self publishing and 275 also wrote an article about me after publishing my first book and now I'm onto my 12th book in tow.

275 actually is the code for the Mangere local area phone subscribers. I remember in the 1990s the discussion of some local businesses wanting to change their phone numbers due being identified as being located in the area and due to it's reputation, many businesses choose to change the numbers.

Things have changed a lot since then with the advent of mobile phones numbers that identify the service provider from the prefix of the number rather than the location which gives more anonymity for the subscriber.

Now awaiting the assessment of my debuting novel from an assessor to see whether I should work on publishing from a single perspective or back to the original of three different perspectives. This is going to be an interesting time planning forward...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

My 1st Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel Public meeting...

I'm supposed to be in Hamilton and Te Awamutu for the next couple of days for work but have ended up not going as have been very sick with the cold and now on med's and trying to nurse myself back to recovery between coughs and liquids to help with the  recovery process as thought to err on the side of caution rather than to travel and then to regret getting worse.

I also need to get better as next week starts an interesting journey into local politics in being on one of 6 advisory panels i.e. the Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel for the Auckland council as can be seen on the graphic. The other panels are:

  1. Ethnic Peoples
  2. Disability/ies
  3. Rainbow communities
  4. Seniors
  5. Youth
We, as the Pacifc Peoples Advisory Panel, will be having our first Public meeting next week on 19 July at the Auckland Town Hall, level 2 from 5.30pm - 8.30pm. I think people are also able to link in on a smartphone/tablet/laptop but I need to check on the link to see if this is possible and will post on this blog closer to the event day.

The job of the panels, to my understanding although it's still early days yet, is to be able to give effective and sound advice from the different perspectives for Council to consider on various important events, ideas, information etc. and as a sounding board for some of Auckland Council's various departments. 

However, at the end of the day, the Mayor and Councillor's make the final decisions regarding all the different perspectives that they are aware of and that it their responsibility too. I must say that in past years I haven't really heard much of anything at all about the Pacific Peoples' Advisory Panel until I decided to apply for the position and I think it has been beneficial to have worked within various communities to know how things work.

Looking forward to much learning and sharing in days/weeks to come...

Sunday, 9 July 2017

NZSA 13 Manuscript Assessment recipients for 2017...

Manuscript Assessment...

A big thanks to the panel of the NZSA that chose my manuscript from many others as one of 13 recipients of the 2017 applications that were made for the manuscript assessment.

The opportunity is an amazing open door that I have been considering for some time since completing the first draft of my YA Young Adult novel in 2012 but had been so busy with rolling our the first of my self publishing books that I didn't have the time to consider it.

But having spoken to my eldest, I realise that it is now the time to give it some serious consideration and to give it a dusting off the shelf to work it towards completion. 

The only problem I have now is that the complete work is over 100,000 words which is well over the expectation of a first novel and so I divided the 3 narratives into 3 separate books but now I'm having second thoughts about it and considering to bring it together again and work it down to a manageable size.

And this is why I am 'over the moon' so to speak about having another eye graze over my manuscript. Being that it is for a Young adult audience, I hope to capture some of the things that I experienced as a student, educator and now observer/commentator of education particularly in South Auckland schools.

This going to be an interesting journey and looking forward to what I will learn from this experience.... 

Friday, 7 July 2017

What is wisdom?

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague today about wisdom. She asked me about what my thoughts were on the subject as she was writing about for a paper for her Masters students to consider.

I admit that I had to think about it and it has been something that I have thought about over the years and consider it as a gift that is one accumulates over life lived that we pass on meaningfully to others.

I think of my parents and the gems that they have passed onto me over time from the advice that they often give and the insight that I have gained from our talks. Sometimes it's been passed on through mentors that I had as a teen and young woman mainly from male educators whom passed on gems as I journeyed through my education.

I think of it as gems passed on through time from the wise sayings and proverbs from ancestors such as whakatauki for Maori and alaga upu or muagagana in Samoan. These gems are like pearls that sometimes may not may a lot of sense at the time but when applied at the right time and moment can open or close doors to you.

Much like the proverb above which talks about knowledge speaking and Wisdom listening and I can vouch for that in being very powerful in that over the years I have found it more valuable to listen to what all have to say before contributing my part in knowing that we were given one mouth and two ears for a reason (that's a joke by the way :)

Suffice to say that the question caught me off guard in an unexpected but neat way of reminding me of the importance of our elder generations and to take the time to spend time with them to learn what we need to and then to pass it on...

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Planning towards a healthy heart/lifestyle...

Today, I went for a cautionary checkup at our local Super Clinic which is only a 15-20 min drive away and it was neat to know that there is a facility that is close enough with plenty of free parking rather than having to go to the busy hospitals.

It was neat to see the cardiologist and be given a good bill of heart health as doctors need to sometime check on things that may not seem right at the time but it was also a good wakeup call not to take my health for granted.

Having come from a busy gym lifestyle in my 20s - early 30s in being single and career oriented everything changed once I got married and "I" became "we" and those times for doing things for myself weren't as pressing as they once were. I think most busy mums and working fulltime know what I mean in sacrificing for the greater good but it's also important to take care of our own health because as we know when we fall sick often things can fall apart.

So, I am very grateful for the reminder of how important good health is and it's time for me to take stock of what needs to be done to do well. I've seen research on TV that talks about "Blue Zones" where people live to 100 years old and it has a lot to do with a healthy diet, lifestyle and away from the city and keeping a good mental health balance.

And it's also about having a healthy spiritual life that acknowledges a greater good beyond ourselves and for me that's about the Christian faith that helps me to look beyond myself and to support others. Something definitely worth thinking and planning towards and I'm thankful and blessed for more to come...

Saturday, 1 July 2017

2nd half of the year starting....

Pasifika Yellows (6"x6") acrylics on canvas
Today starts the second half of the year with half the year already completed. For our eldest it means that there are only a few more months to externals (exams) and only a few more months to Christmas and looking forward to the holiday.

For me as a tutor/lecturer, it means planning then teaching the curriculum, setting assignments, marking them and then covering all the needs to be completed by the end of the year with never a dull moment.

It's also about reflecting on the past 6 months and planning for the next 6 months and what that might entail for future years. In fact, it's disconcerting to know that as we plan and consider that we never really know what tomorrow will bring.

So far it's been neat in now having my books and paintings now being sold at a store but also with so much more planning to do with the new novel being worked on and considering final publications to be completed by the end of the year.

It's also about considering what is important to do sometimes more so than what is something to do. I've learnt over the years to be intentional rather than wait for things to happen as that's where goals are either accomplished or still dreamt about...