Monday, 31 December 2018


Image result for happy new year 2019

Being bi-lingual/multi-lingual Samoan/English...

No automatic alt text available. Yesterday, I went with my family to farewell my parents who are travelling back to Samoa as we look forward to visiting Samoa again, at the end of next month before school starts.

One of the things that I think is becoming more important for us as Samoans is teaching our future generations of diaspora Samoans living away from the homeland, concepts and values of the faaSamoa as well as how to speak the language.

As a result, I've purposed to attend beginner classes at PEC Pacific Education Centre at MIT, Manukau Institute of Technology, at level 1 NCEA, National Certificate of Educational Achievement units and work through the different modules with our our eldest to learn the language in a formal setting i.e. learning sentence structures and grammar etc.

Being brought up in the 80s as a teen, the educational philosophy at this time was to assimilate all cultures into Western thought with speaking English as the priority, the current education philosophy is now about being at least bilingual and even more important multi-lingual to be able to understand more than one view.

In my experience, this has been very interesting as an indigenous researcher and creative. It means that various perspective can bring about a better understanding of some of our universal values of: love, grief, loyalty, happiness etc. and to teach our children in reinforcing that our indigenous cultural values are important that there are more ways of understanding this world than only the ideas that they learnt at school...

Saturday, 29 December 2018

'Aquaman' highly recommended viewing...

On Boxing day, I went with some members of my family to view the much-anticipated movie 'Aquaman' starring Jason Moamoa. To describe the movie in one word without spoiling it for those who are yet to watch it, would be the word 'epic'.

There were many subplots to the movie although the central theme was around Aquaman saving the world through being an heir to the throne of Atlantis, a highly advanced aquiline civilization who's leader wants to wage war on the humans on land for pollution on land and sea.

The neat thing was seeing NZ Maori actor Temuera Morrison playing the role of the father of Aquaman next to Nicole Kidman as the mother and how aspects of Maori/Pasifika culture was seen in a few scenes of the movie: in the hongi that father and son share, aspects of Mau Rakau (Maori weaponry) demonstrated in the trident sword fights and tattooing as depicted on Aquaman's chest.

So for me as a writer, the elephant in the room was that the movie discussed the Western narrative of Atlantis portrayed as being of a highly advanced technological society with the absence of a Pacific narrative that could have been woven into the story about superior navigational peoples who were at one with the sea with father and son having that relationship.

Despite that, the movie was well worth watching although I wouldn't encourage young children to watch it in the movies as some of the aquiline creatures are pretty scary for those who scare easily. There are some plot twists and interesting storylines and would highly recommend it that definitely lives up to the hype...

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Christmas 2018 Done and dusted...

 This Christmas season has been one of the busiest Christmases on record for me with so much to do and see and so neat to have my parents visiting from Samoa with many visiting over and to spend this together with them and family has been a real blessing.

So apart from last minute shopping, it was also lovely to attend our churches Christmas Eve service at Life South campus and then to count down (or the children did it) the last seconds until Christmas day and then to open their first present at midnight (family tradition).

Early the next morning, a sang nostagic Christmas carols with my beloved and then started the preparations for the day after having wrapped Christmas presents under the Christmas tree the night before with an eagerly anticipating youngster impatiently awaiting for Christmas morning to officially open presents.

So for Christmas morning, I spent three hours in the kitchen preparing our feast lunch/dinner which was another Christmas present to our family and so neat to see a big smile on their faces on the day which consisted of:

  • a dressed ham
  • potato salad
  • surimi salad
  • sapasui
  • chicken and vege curry
  • 2 x trifles (with ice cream and chocolate log)
A simple menu that kept us returning for seconds and thirds in the remainder of the day whilst enjoying the company of each other and watching the children enjoy their gifts and listening to Christmas songs and happy music all day long.

And then finally to spend time with my eldest watching a Christmas movie until the wee hours of the morning and realising what a blessing this Christmas season has been for us as a family to spend precious time together in understanding the real reason for the season as the birth of a child who literally changed the world... 

Sunday, 23 December 2018

C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. music nostalgia...

As we enter the last couple of days before Christmas, there are some neat Christmas traditions that I had growing up in my family with some of our traditions that I continue today with my family such as decorating the non-fir Christmas tree, Christmas present shopping, Christmas menu consideration i.e. ham etc., the Christmas day or eve church service.

Another memory I had growing up was with Christmas music that we had playing during the season and Jim Reeves' Christmas songs was a popular album that my parents used to play so much so that I know every song on the album by heart and even used one of his songs C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. for one of my Christmas service plays at church, many years ago, with lyrics that reminds of us the real reason for the season.

C - is for the Christ child born to you this day
H - is for Herald angels in the night
R - He's our Redeemer
I - means Israel
S - is for the Star that shone so bright
T - is for Three Wise Men, they travelled far
M - is for the Manger where He lay
A - is for All He stands for
S - means Shepherds came, and that's why there's a Christmas day...

Wishing you all a safe and Happy Christmas season with your families and friends as we farewell this year and welcome in the New Year...

Friday, 21 December 2018

Celebrating first job for students...

Celebrating at Krispy Creme donut shop
 This week we celebrated the independence of our eldest in gaining a temporary summer job through a recruitment agency to work in various employment establishments in Manukau city. In doing this the gaining of valuable employment lessons, learning important life skills and communication skills in the various places the agency has been a bonus on top of getting paid.

I've heard, in some spaces, that some parents shy away from allowing their children to be employed at fast food outlets, warehousing opportunities or other employment opportunities due (in my opinion) to their lack of understanding in the valuable lessons that can be learned in one's life than tarring their reputation of lowering themselves to these so called menial jobs which is very short sighted.

I started working at the age of 12 till around 17 years of age at my dad's former employer's catering firm and I'll always remember the valuable life lessons that I learnt as a pre/teenager whilst working eight hour shifts during the weekends which were usually monthly Friday nights after school till 10.30 pm and Saturdays from 2 pm to 10.30 pm.

The lessons included:

  • not wanting to work in a job that I had to stand up in for 8 hours in which I'd come home with smoke in my hair and clothes
  • I didn't want to work in a job that I had to wear a uniform i.e. a smock or hairnet (usually food related job)
  • I didn't want to work indoors all day and needed to have some independence in where I worked not having to sit in one place or remain standing in one place all day
  • learning to not treat people badly as a supervisor as I had seen in many work places where managers had power issues
  • learning to have pride in the work I did and not take short cuts that would cost the company or people I worked with i.e. having a good work ethic which I learnt from my parents
  • being careful when relating with people i.e. not get into the 'gossiping' group or hanging around people with negative attitudes
  • being able to help out those who needed support in the work place i.e. usually women who were older and having empathy for those who shared difficult life stories with me as a teen
  • learnt to arrive early to work and to leave after the work was complete or to make up for it in some appropriate manner
  • I learnt that value of $ and not squandering it after having worked hard for it and also seeing how others spent their $
there's much more but those are some of the values and idea/ideals that come to mind and so it has been very interesting in having those conversations with our eldest in realising that these opportunities allow for one to walk in someone else's shoes in that these jobs are some people's livelihoods and may not be the perfect workplaces but they do provide monetary value for people.

And so we found ourselves celebrating through eating Christmas treats at 'Krispy Cremes' donut shop with our eldest's new found understanding that there are people who work in these different industries either as full time or part time employees who rely on these jobs to assist in their families.

It was also neat as a parent to see a certain maturity begin to form in these newfound interactions with workplaces and people whom one might not otherwise have had contact with. It was also neat to see a sense of satisfaction in now being able to earn their own $ without parental involvement apart from dropping off or picking up from the venue.

It's definitely something that I would recommend for our young people to experience part time or temporary work not so much that they can continue to work in such places but in order to see these opportunities as a way of understanding how the world works and the place that you wish to take within as an employer, employee, entrepreneur, creative, manager, innovator, investor, cleaner etc. a real eye opener... 

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Quick stop to Samoa and back...

Aerial pic of Upolu Samoa
It was so neat to take a short visit to Samoa for a few days to visit family and to check on things and then returned back early this week for my last week of work. 

It's definitely something that my family wants to do more of to keep in close connection with our family in Samoa and especially our parents in their retirement years.

I also really appreciate the airfares being more affordable than a couple of decades ago when it was well over $1K for a return ticket and that's a big thanks to Virgin Samoa airlines that really started a price war that has kept prices at bay for families although often Air NZ is the preferred carrier for many travellers to Samoa.

This trip I didn't get to visit Savaii again but it was really neat in becoming more familiar with the roads and where family members live and in not having to wait for another few years before the pilgrimage back to the motherland.

It also gave me time to write and reflect on some poetry that I'd been meaning to write for the next prose and poetry collection next year. It definitely is a privilege to be able to travel to Samoa and consider the differences that the motherland and culture has to diasporic Samoans living faaSamoa values away from the motherland.

So as the three week holiday season begins for my family, I'm so grateful for the many opportunities that have been brought about to share stories, learn from and consider about the different principles and values that I learned from the faaSamoa to pass on to future generations...

Friday, 14 December 2018

Annual Prize givings and goal making...

This year it was neat to be a part of our lil' one's prizegiving as although she didn't get a class prize she was able to receive commendation for completing her first tryathlon (swim, bike, run/walk) in being the only one to represent the school (she wanted to compete as her elder sisters had done in other schools) and also was one of two students of the school to be published in our latest book as the youngest author.

As for me, I became addicted to winning prizes and would make it my goal as a youngster to try and get prizes at end of the year prize givings be it: school, Sunday school, piano exams etc. I think it might be like the athlete who likes to compete to win.

So although it's not everyone's cuppa tea, I certainly took those ideas into adulthood and continued with collecting degrees, working up through the ranks in the workplace and in a way that competitive spirit has been beneficial for me but I realise that it's different with each child with the talents that they possess.

So for any disappointed parents out there, no worries as not everyone is going to get prizes at prize giving and it really depends on the talents that each child has and how the year went for them in the different prize getting categories.

I'm just truly thankful that I get to spend some neat quality time with each of my children in getting to know how they tick, the different talents they possess and supporting those talents as best I can through clubs or watching something with them or just listening to their dreams, goals and priorities.

The worst thing we can do is to make them feel bad about it because not everyone likes school or even wants to be singled out. I just know that for me, it worked but for my children it's up to them to find out what makes each of them tick with just enough support from me...

Thursday, 6 December 2018

27th Annual Weetbix 'Tryathlon' in Manurewa...

Yesterday, I had the privilege of taking our lil' one to her first 'Weetbix Tryathlon' in Manurewa that comprises of a 50 metre swim, a 4 km cycle and a 1500 metre run (or walk) and she had a ball.

I must say that it is so well coordinated and everything goes by clockwork with different heats all going at the same time and lots of support from families, schools, sponsors for the competitors.

Our lil' one liked it so much that she wants to keep competing and I don't blame her what with all the hype and the neat gear that they get for joining in such as the bag, competing Tshirt, swim cap, golden medal that is received after finishing the event! and lots of games to play before and after the event.

It was neat to see many South Auckland schools join in but like I saw last time, there were so many that didn't and ours being the only one from her school to compete but definitely worth missing a day from school to be a part of something that promotes a healthy lifestyle and I hope she will continue in.

As for the parents, many of us were there cheering the children, coordinating bike dropoffs, gear in the transition areas and general supporting our kids out there.  I would definitely recommend this event to all parents and caregivers for their children as now our older children have neat memories and encourage and have tips for the younger competitors. A day definitely well worth going participating in for all...

Saturday, 1 December 2018

25 days to Christmas countdown...

Image result for 25 days to christmas With just 25 days until Christmas day there's still a lot for me to do before work finishes for the year and children finishing in the next couple of weeks for the Christmas holidays with the local outdoor swimming pools opening today.

Next week I'll also be flying out to Samoa for a few days to check out our build and also see what else needs to be bought. Am also visiting the Mega SSAB store in Apia and other Apia stores to see what household products and whiteware we can pick up instead of shipping from NZ.

However, the most important thing will be visiting with our parents and other family relatives in Samoa during these days. I'm definitely looking forward to warmer weather but not the flies nor mosquitoes and tasting the local foods and especially the fruit such as mangoes, pineapples, fresh bananas etc.

And with some books that I'm currently working on now for launching within the next few weeks, it makes for a busy time with the Christmas rush and just looking forward to a lot of R & R (rest and relaxation) during the Christmas and New Year period which always seems to finish faster than it took to come.

Roll on Christmas in remembering the true reasons for the season...