Monday, 24 September 2018

New book 'Sense of belonging' launch...

This Saturday we're launching our second collection of prose and poetry by the 'Mana Mangere writers collective' with local guest writers from Otahuhu and Mangere.

The cover was an art piece that my youngest sister had completed last year and when I saw it, I knew that I had to purchase it for a book cover and when this project came to mind - the cover seemed to have been made for the collection.

In this second collection we've included voices from our youth as I was given the opportunity to hold workshops at Otahuhu library and was able to share ideas on writing and at some schools as well. Those who submitted their writing ideas were then discussed and in some instances with some editing have been included in the collection.

I count is a privilege as the book title of a 'Sense of belonging' was the working title of first PhD thesis at Auckland University, Geography department that I started in 1997 and deferred in 2000 but then didn't quite finish due to getting married and starting a family.

I feel like it's now come to fruition in that people themselves from the community of Otahuhu but particularly of Mangere are now able to answer that question for themselves as to their own sense of belonging or not belonging in local communities.

Now looking forward to the book launch this Saturday at Otahuhu library around lunchtime but it may be the last community effort for a while as now with my doctoral studies needing to be completed these neat projects need to go on the back burner for a while in order to finish an important priority.

And I'd like to thank the Mangere Otahuhu local boards for their financial support in making these efforts possible both for the workshops and also for the book printing...

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

26 - 27 Oct: Inaugural South Ak Writers Festival...

I'd like to give a plug for the first South Auckland Writers Festival which will be held in Mangere East 'village' from 26 - 27 Oct 2018. This is very exciting because it's the first ever writers' event for South Auckland writers that I've ever known and it will bring together a lot of interesting people to share their stories and views on writing.

The theme of the festival is: "Words will work" and it's interesting how words on a piece/s of paper can evoke so much emotion, understandings/misunderstandings, different perspectives etc. South Auckland writers groups came up with the concept headed by a passionate lady named Holly and it's now all go with a website, check out and FB page (just highlight and double-click the hyperlink)

There'll be lots of speakers there from various backgrounds and genre. I've been invited to speak and have decided on the theme of writing for generations with children in mind especially regarding passing on important information to them through books. I'll be sharing my journey and hopefully inspiring others to start writing or continue writing etc.

So looks like it's going to be an interesting Festival with only weeks to go, why not check out the website and consider if it's for you...

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Big Life Journal for lil' ones...
Kids Growth Mindset Journal/Book by Big Life JournalJust received this for our little one yesterday and she absolutely loves writing in it and sharing her thoughts. It's a journal that was advertised online on a USA website (with the links above) and I read some of the information around it and I'm glad I made that decision.

Presently there is one journal for which has a weekly format with the encouragement of having a journal buddy (me in this case) to support and encourage journaling. This particular one is for 5+ to pre-teens and there's a new one coming out soon for teens that I'll be looking be checking out too.

The beauty of having these journals is that it brings about ways for our young ones to explore and consider ideas that remain in one book. This is quite apart from the school work and it allows them to work at their own pace and whenever they want to.

The neat thing for me is also for our young one to have a record of thoughts and ideas that may change as one develops and it's also fun to go back and see what was written as I have done in having kept and read back on some of my journalling back when I was young.

Highly recommended for our young ones with a bit of encouraging and help to see them through the tasks at their own pace...

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Attending the 'Sistas' conference...

Image result for sistasThis weekend I'll be attending the annual 'Sistas' conference with my middle child and looking forward to it as over the years I've attended many Christian conferences at various venues with various Christian church organisations but this will be the first year that I'll be attending this conference specifically for women.

In fact, I know of some women who make it their priority to always attend the 'Sistas' conference as an annual event and some organisations even send their women or some women make a choice to add the 'Sistas' conference as a professional development event to attend.

I've heard many rave reviews of the International guest speakers who are on offer and over the years women such as: Priscilla Shirer (USA), Bobby Houston (Australia) and many others have come to offer their support and wisdom to women who attend the conference.

I've also heard of women who come from overseas to attend this annual event that some even pay for the conference a year in advance with the conference specials that are on offer. I'm looking forward to the different speakers and workshops that they have on offer and will share some of the gems of wisdom in upcoming posts.

The event is so big now that it started at our Life Church, then moved to Vodafone Events centre in Manukau but because it has grown so much bigger, it's now on at the Trusts Arena Stadium from 13 - 15 September starting this evening.

Looking forward to tonight's opening and the wisdom and blessings that it will bring through the speakers...

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

No pain, no gain - exercise!...

Image result for no pain no gainBack to the gym again having had a rest with all that's going on with studies, family, work and creativity but always reminded to not take health for granted with many of the ills that can befall us over 40s (ha ha).

And in not forgetting that 80% of effort in losing weight or conditioning is actually through controlling portion sizes (tell that to my tummy :) but also in ensuring that calories are controlled in less than 2000 calories per day but that varies with each person.

Anyway, over the years I see how particularly women, become busy with looking after the family with so much responsibilities put on them that oftentimes their own health is at risk in wanting to have a rest after it all but in actual fact as we get older, it becomes more important to get that time not only for relaxation but also for healthy exercise intensity.

Which is why it's becoming more important for me to schedule in times of exercising whether it be in the gardening, hanging up the washing, climbing the stairs, shopping around the aisles, as well as walking and exercising in anything but the gym.

However, the gym becomes handy when you only have a spot of time and when you want to isolate those muscles that really need a hard workout like those disappeared abs or those bicep muscles that have gone for a hike. It really doesn't take too much time a day to schedule it in but it doesn't have to be for a day but only 3 - 4 times per week.

Just a reminder to me and you and your body will thank you for it :)...

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Te wiki o te reo Maori 2018...

Image result for maori language weekKia ora koutou katoa, nga mihi atu kia koutou i tenei wa. In celebration of Maori language week, I would like to weigh in on current discussions regarding making Maori language compulsory in schools from Years 1 - 10.

This was discussed in my class yesterday and I am fully supportive of this move by the 'Greens' in our MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) parliament to have this become legislated. Yes, I know there's a whole lot of problems in resourcing the teaching for learning another language but there are also many benefits.

What many New Zealanders don't know is that many European countries have been doing that for decades so that it is not uncommon for children to be conversant in more than 3 languages. The mindset in New Zealand for the past couple of centuries has been built upon racist mindsets that NZ needs to be monolingual with the predominant language being English which was built upon the paradigms of oppression.

This has really set up minority cultures such as Maori and Pasifika cultures to have to leave their languages and cultures at the door steps of schools or outside the schools or even be punished for speaking their home languages and to take the Pakeha/Papalagi mindset out into homes. It's no wonder many of our young people don't make it through our school systems in having to deny what is an inherent part of themselves.

The other reason is that in learning more than one or two languages, you get an insight into different ways of thinking and it's been neat to be able to compare the Maori and Samoan languages with cultural similarities and differences, therefore when you have a better understanding of other cultures there's more acceptance of those differences and similarities.

So I say that it's stunted thinking of many to think that it's a 'bad thing' to have Maori being taught in schools. For me it's an exciting time for NZ to stop looking into the past and to start looking into the future where we speak more than two languages and that's even including signing for the deaf. No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa...

Monday, 10 September 2018

Auckland War Memorial Museum, never a dull moment...

Image may contain: outdoor
Photo credits: Mandy C
 This past weekend we took our classes to Auckland Museum and it was really neat to see them enjoying their learning journey around Maori taonga (treasures) and reading the stories behind each artefact.

It was also neat to view the 'Secret of the butterflies' exhibition which was very interesting in which our little one digitally paint a butterfly and then watched it fly away digitally. A very engaging interact platform for young ones to learn about what some of the secrets of the butterflies were: i.e. eyes on their wings that can scare off insects, the fact that some butterflies that look similar fly together although some may be poisonous to the untrained eye.

I think that the interesting time for some was in the engagement of each individual into a group task and then having to find some information out on those topics. And it was so neat to see the updated Pasifika and Maori sections that houses a lot of information with still much more missing but it is a strart to begin to capture what is happening in our histories.

When then went to the Joseph Savage memorial gardens for lunch up on Bastion Point and then went back to campus for some more work. When it was finally time to have dinner and watch the rugby matches in class, I continued studied and by the time I got home from the weekend, I was all bugged out but it was a profitable weekend...

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Visiting Te Mahurehure Marae...

Image result for te mahurehure cultural maraeThis weekend, am spending time at a combined noho Marae (weekend overnight stay) at Te Mahurehure Marae in Pt Chevalier i.e. in joining my rangahau (research) class with my two colleagues.

It's my first time visiting here with our little one and it's set in a beautiful setting which feels like we've in the bush with only a short 5 minute drive to Auckland Zoo and MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology).

I really count it a privilege in being given this opportunity to work within indigenous environments and to learn alongside a current and happening team of dedicated kaiako/teachers in the research space. It's something that mainstream research teams could really learn a lot from in not only researching topics but then also giving back directly to the local community in sharing knowledge and ideas for moving forward.

This weekend we'll be visiting Auckland Museum and viewing some of the artefacts in the Maori and Pacific space and then moving onto other exhibitions spaces to consider some of the tikanga (protocols etc.) associated with them.

The other neat thing is being able to share some of these experiences with my little one and recognising that often when our work spaces aren't shared with our families that they are in the dark about what we really do. In this way being together can ignite an understanding of different cultures especially in a Marae setting.

As in learning the protocols of one culture you begin to have a better understanding of your own in what the similarities and differences are. So if you haven't had a noho Marae experience, I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the Tangata Whenua of New Zealand i.e. the first nations people or better still you can join our classes in the new year to learn about local indigenous experiences...

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Su'esu'e Manogi - In search of Fragrance...

Su’esu’e Manogi: In Search of Fragrance. Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi and the Samoan Indigenous Reference (e-book) This is another interesting book to read called 'Su'esu'ega Manogi' by Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta'isi Efi. As I continue to read through the various books that I've prescribed for myself, I can't help but wish that the rocks and the trees could talk for they would say so much about the history of Samoa which wasn't written.

Which brings me to this very finely written book that every Samoan educator should read in which Tui Atua discusses some very important information that would have been very difficult to discuss some years ago but in relating it for the next generations to know, I've found it a real privilege to be able to understand.

One of the findings, he discussed was regarding the dreaded Tamafaiga having been slain when Rev. John Williams arrived in Samoa in 1830, as Fauea, his Samoan advisor who had been living in Tonga at the time expressed that if Tamafaiga was to be in rule, all hopes of Christianity would be thwarted.

In his book, he discusses how Tamafainga was captured and then slain, incidentally this was supposed to have happened in the village where my parents are currently living in Fasito'o-uta and my mother showed the place that my father talked about called 'Pisia'. According to Tui Atua, this was place that Tamafainga 'splashed' into the sea in trying to run away after being caught, however, within the village there is another story but similar.

I am so thankful that there has been much written but still much that wasn't. I'll continue to try and tie the strings together for my own understanding that might in time be passed on through books for our next generations...

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Malo e lelei! celebrating Tongan language week connections...

Image result for tongan language week 2018 Malo e lelei! This week is Tongan language week after having a neat relaxing weekend with my beloved enjoying his 'Father's Day' lunch and dinner and just chillaxing after a busy week of work whilst my Father is in Samoa relaxing next to the sea.

My connection with Tonga is through my maternal great grandmother who was a matriarch and could speak Tongan fluently as did her son, my maternal grandfather, so much so that they would argue (in the Tongan language) or so I was told by my mother so that others in the family couldn't understand what they were saying.

Through my mum, I was told that they would spend time going back and forth from Tonga as my Great Gran had a sister whom married in Tonga and that's where we get the Hurrell connection as she married into the Hurrell family.

Sadly, that connection has been lost in time through the passing of both my Great gran (whom I never met but was named after) and my grandfather. And more sadly, none of my family can speak Tongan or have that connection with family in Tonga anymore.

So as we celebrate Tongan language week, I'm reminded to try and make connections through our gafa (genealogy) to our Tongan family, even if digitally and then who knows what can happen as we begin connect through digital data bases and connecting the dots to our aiga/families overseas.

Malo au pito...

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Crazy Rich Asians new movie...

Yesterday, went to watch the new movie out called "Crazy Rich Asians" which was quite a nice surprise. I was particulary interested to see the cultural differences between those who lived within Asia and those who lived overseas.

It reminded me of those who live on Pacific Islands like Samoa and those who live in Western communities such as New Zealand, Australia or USA. The values are often different and in the movie's case, having 'old' money made quite a difference.

The cinematography was neat with some amazing shots of the island/city of Singapore and some of the places of interest. As a high school student I remember having a couple of penpals from Singapore and even got to meet one with her family.

It was also interesting in how many of the actors portrayed English accents in having been sent to English boarding schools due to it's colonial ties in the past. I assume that they would have thought that boarding school education in England was superior to American?

It was like an Asian Cinderella story in looking at the differences between socio-economic status of two people with a parallel story of the main character's sister. All in all, I would highly recommend it as a movie that explains some of the interest in why having money is so important within it's culture...