Tuesday, 31 July 2018

SSAB Apia Megastore...

It's been a real blessing to come back from Samoa and to start writing our next books plus also looking, hopefully, for a couple of art exhibitions in South Auckland with proposals that I submitted yesterday for schools and communities to be involved in.

This particular shelf pic was taken of one of our books that was currently selling in Samoa, we've since dropped off several more copies of a variety of book and have more to fill in the order.

It is such a blessing to be able to share our Samoan stories with a wider audience and to also hopefully create conversations whereby people are able to share these important stories that help to maintain important and significant events as well as cultural concepts that are beginning to fade away with each generation living outside of the 'mother land' and dare I say it, within Samoa itself.

There is much to be said about the curriculum in NZ which doesn't truly reflect Pasifika populations in what is being taught in many schools but in Samoa, it's important that much information about Samoa need to be shared and taught so that important information continues for the next generations...

Friday, 27 July 2018

Taro chips and fresh foods in the islands...

 Another big hit in Samoa are the taro, breadfruit, banana chips that are often bought back to loved ones overseas after having visited Samoa. This one's a snack at work hence the pic next to my computer keyboard at work.

We've received many different types over the years and have our favourite and it was also neat to gift some to my work colleagues too with comments that they tasted very similar to potato chops and the breadfruit ones being quite popular.

Still nothing beats fresh coconuts, drinking cool from the fridge or just after being freshly picked off my parents trees in Fasitoo-uta. Even coconut milk squeezed straight after being grated tastes fresh and nothing like the cans of coconut cream we get in the shops (although Kara's is interesting.)

So now missing the fresh fruits from the islands, the Paw paw, breadfruit and taro from the umu, luau, and fresh fish etc. such a difference from buying from the shop or having been processed outside of the country.

Don't get me wrong, as there are plenty of fast foods places in Samoa i.e. the only McDonalds in Apia with meals costing from around SAT$18 upwards and plenty of fish and chips outlets with the markets at many stores - they all still can't make up for fresh Samoa foods - Yum!

Hmmm, I think I left my taste buds in Samoa...

Thursday, 26 July 2018

The Mau fale (house) of the Mau movement...

 One of the things that I was keenly aware of when I was in Samoa was the lack of signage or information for tourists, or those interested, about significant landmarks on the landscape of several important Samoan historical events.

This particular pic shows the fale (house) of the Mau movement which was significant landmark in pushing back the colonial powers of wanting to take over Samoa. The Mau were an organised movement of resistance against the colonial powers that ultimately brought Samoa into becoming the first independent nation of the Pacific from colonial forces, although Tonga acclaims that it has always been a sovereign nation and has never oppressed by colonial powers.

In driving past it, I thought about this new generation and how many would not have heard about the oppression and difficult fight that our forefathers would have gone through in order to ensure and safeguard the freedom of Samoa.

This house stood as a symbol of resistance, as I understand it as, in having viewed so many pics of our forefathers standing in front of it and being proud and mindful of the measures that were taken in order for Samoa to now enjoy freedom i.e. some Samoans were exiled, killed, hunted, treated as criminals in their own lands because they would not bow to the colonial powers.

This is definitely a story that I want to write about to encourage and remind our next generation that this stand alone house was symbolic of people who did not accept oppression but who fought back with intelligent strategies for which now we can enjoy the freedom that they fought for...

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Macadamia chocolates in American Samoa, mini Hawaii...

One of the delights in going to American Samoa, also known locally as Tutuila or Pago, was picking up some chocolate covered macadamia nuts which I've always picked up from Oahu, Hawaii whenever passing through to give as gifts/sovereigns to family.

Was also able to do the same this time and so neat in being able to share with friends and family as earlier my only interest was in 'Coast' soap which is only found in the Americas and Best Foods mayonnaise which you can now buy in NZ as well.

The other things that I noticed about American Samoa also was that there still wasn't a mall of shopping which was what my kids had expected in having travelled to different places in the Pacific. American Samoa still has big house like shops and stores where you're able to buy clothes and they are usually stand alone or close buy to each other unlike Samoa which has rows of stores that you're able to shop at.

We also noticed that in Pago, many people wore western clothing and not the lavalava's that are seen in many Samoan villages. Even wearing socks and high top basketball shoes was a big thing there whereas we just sported jandals...

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Selling at SSAB Auckland, Apia (Megastore) and Pago (American Samoa)...

Image result for ssab pagoIt has been such a privilege and blessing to visit our homeland Samoa and also to have the opportunity to visit the SSAB (Samoa Stationery and books) stores in Apia and Tutuila (American Samoa). So that now there are 3 SSAB stores currently stocking our books i.e. in Auckland (Mangere), the Apia Megastore and also in the Pago Pago store.

This has been such a blessing as we have so many stories that we have researched and want to share but due to time and many other considerations that we find ourselves in, we prioritise what we are able to publish humbly in a prayerful manner.

One of the important considerations that we have when deciding which story to share next is regarding the connection/s that we have to that story. I also have to consider the actual illustrations that matches the text and even the actual words that I use.

I really would like to thank Tofilau Fiti (managing director) of SSAB in having the foresight and belief in allowing us to share our dream of publishing our own stories and selling through our own indigenously owned and managed bookshop.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to visit the Savaii store due to having such a busy schedule but it is definitely planned for my next Samoa trip of which I am hoping is not too far away. And in reciprocity my family is planning to purchase items from the SSAB store for our new project build which I hope will be quickly finished in the near future...

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Family Reunions in Samoa...

Finally back from my beloved's family reunion in the village of Siumu and it was also neat to be able to meet many of the cousins, Aunties and Uncles and different generations living in Samoa and overseas.

It was also inspiring to listen to the stories about the foundational father's entrepreneurial and visionary foresight to the fanua (land) pioneering new technology for that time that now many new generations can enjoy.

This pic was on the day that there was a bus tour around important land marks on Upolu for the generations to understand with family coming from Australia and New Zealand to visit the villages of Siumu, Nofoalii and also the township of Apia.

Family reunions in Samoa is becoming a mainstay in Samoa as many older generations want newer generations to reconnect with their Samoan ancestry and this was apparent in the many Tshirts that were worn by groups that I observed. In fact, some families have Tshirt collections of the many family reunions that they've had over the years.

It was definitely a neat event that was so very special, in that often it is only a funerals that families come together to remember a loved one whereas a family reunion is a special event that honours their ancestry and notes significant landmarks that need to be remembered and observed for the next generations.

Such a blessing to be a part of and looking forward to many more of these to come...

Friday, 20 July 2018

Samoa in the sun...

Pic credits: Samoan Observer
It's been nice being off the grid in Samoa but now am currently in American Samoa with family (and data) and have been chillaxing and enjoying the relatively laid back lifestyle of Pago as some know the island as.

Yesterday, we went with my beloved's brother's family for a quick tour around the island and seeing the steep slopes behind reminds me of Rarotonga and Hawaii (on a small scale.

Also picked up an interesting story about the turtle and the shark which has been around for a long time but neat to see the actual place that the story is believed to have started. It's another book idea but still considering our connections to the story.

It has been a neat trip to come together as a family to my beloved's family reunion but to also reunite with my identity as being a Samoan. I purposed that at all times I would try and converse in Samoan and this has been good in raising confidence in my first language and every now and then will switch back when I can't think of a Samoan word that quickly expresses the thoughts I have.

It's also been interesting to listen to the different debates that are going ahead with the current Prime Minister wanting to tax the monies of the EFKS local Christian Samoan churches and there is a lot of dissatisfaction in the state of affairs for Samoa.

I've also observed over the years of the influence that the west has had on Samoa and it's interesting to see American Samoa and the differences that it has on the landscape of what's happening on the two islands but for me only being an observer on a superficial level.

I just thank God for this opportunity as we begin our families' building project in my father's village. It's been a 7 year dream for my dad and hope to bring it into fruition. Many people say that it's a waste of $ to invest in building in Samoa if living overseas but sometimes you just have to honour what you know to do as being right i.e. from the heart and let God to the rest...

Friday, 6 July 2018

Beloved's Masters presentation congratulations...

Image may contain: food and indoor Last night, our family went to visit their dad's (my beloved's) presentation on his developing indigenous Samoan model for his Master's in Indigenous knowledge practice that he is studying within his first of a two year study.

It has been really interesting in sharing in discussions and watching him embrace his studies and viewing faaSamoa practices and how they have changed somewhat over time. It's also been really interesting to discuss how many of the principles, values and practices that we had been exposed to i.e. for him in Samoa and me growing up in NZ was so often different in practice but embracing the same principes.

In writing and researching our latest book called 'Nafanua the lady warrior', I'm also more aware of why Samoa needed to embrace Christianity, in 1830, at the time as there were many battles and civil war or unrest within the nation, so much so, that when Rev. John Williams arrived on the shores of Manono Samoa was in the throes of a battle with fires being burnt out in villages and many people burnt in having lived inland due to territorial battles.

Fauea who was a Samoan living in Tonga at the time, had accompanied Rev. John Williams back to Samoa in the same year and he was related to Malietoa and was very aware of the dictatorial role of the Malietoa that he had lived under before returning to Samoa upon the death of that Malietoa.

Rev. John Williams wrote about how he was so happy in having Fauea there to assist him in sharing and bringing peace to the nation i.e. providence from God and that he said (prophecied?) that many people would remember Fauea's for what he had been able to assist in accomplishing. I hope that this book will go towards fulfilling that prophecy in that many people know of Rev. John Williams but few know of the pivotal role that Fauea had in his connections and knowledge of bringing about peace to the nation.

And so we are so proud of my beloved and we celebrated with dinner and a cheese cake (his favourite dessert) to encourage him to continue on his awesome journey which we hope will be of benefit to our communities as we continue our journey of documenting Samoan ancient and historical stories, principles, values, practices and understandings for the next generations...

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Incredibles 2 at the movies...

Last night, had a girls night out with my sister and family and we watched 'Incredibles 2' which was pretty incredible and action packed. It definitely had us laughing with the role reversal of the dad staying home watching the kids and the wife going out and fighting crime but for us the 'baddies' were expected.

Still it was pretty neat to go out with the fam' and then upon returning to the car, I realised that I'd left my purse back at the theatre and then had to go back and check it out, which happened to be under the seat as we'd done some shopping before going into the theatre and had brought out the bag of books etc. but great to find it still there upon returning.

We then decided to go out for some late supper and had a neat time talking and laughing some more and also finding that there were a few people also deciding to eat out at the same place with their partners etc.

So nice to take time out and enjoying ourselves before having our supper and then returning home for lights out! All in all, a neat evening with the fam' and also neat to share in some neat times before jetting off to Samoa this weekend with packing to do and arranging last minute things to do before flying. Never a dull moment...

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Nafanua, Falealupo lady warrior and prophetic words...

Have been sick as of late, with the cold, and now hoping that it will soon subside with our impending family trip to Samoa this Saturday.

So as well as being sick, there's definitely been no rest as have been putting the finishing touches on another picture book that we hope to launch in Samoa whilst over there.

Our latest book has been on my mind for a while and I started working on the text last year and then decided to change tact with the artwork and to work with ink and coloured pencils which would give a different 'feel' to this new series which I've called 'tala fa'asolopito' or Samoan historical stories.

This particular story of Nafanua was first introduced to me in Falealupo when I was on fieldwork in 1989 by the late Aeau Taulupoo Lafaialii who passed away in 2015 when I first started writing.

And the story of Nafanua is so important to me because it would have been a tala (story) that my great, great grandmother Melea Solia would have known having lived in Falealupo with her family including her daughter Eleni (my great grandmother and namesake) before moving the family to Fale'ula with Melea's Scandinavian/German husband Charles Spitzenburg (my great, great grandfather). They were all lain to rest in Samoa in Fale'ula but this special connection brings us together in time.

The other connection that I was able to make was through reading the narrative in a book by Rev. John Williams in 1830, who wrote about Fauea, a Samoan who was living in Tonga with his family for 11 years and when he found out that Rev. John Williams was returning to Samoa from Tonga, he asked that he join him there as he had missed his Island nation.

Nafanua had already left a prophetic message to Malietoa Fitisemanu that he would receive his title from the heavens as he had arrived too late to receive the titles that she had already gifted to other supporters in her cause. He died but the next Malietoa Vainuupo accepted Christianity into the nation of Samoa and this was believed to the fulfilment of Nafanua's prophecy. Other's have attested it to the recognition of the 1962 Independence of Samoa by Malietoa Tanumafili II but the wider view has been with the former.

I'm interested to see how this story will be welcomed as there are still many more stories to come but this new series looks at some of the more recent stories in Samoan history that I never got to learn about in schools and hope to share this story and many more with the next generations...