Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Hunger for Colour Donations...


This weekend, I was able to go out with our middle youngin' to check out a new (but old) initiative that I became aware of on a Facebook post of a collaboration between Resene (paints) and the Salvation Army.

The idea is the opportunity for people go into the stores and swap food cans (including pet food) for tester pots of paint which come in a variety of colours.

In learning about this, we took with us 7 cans (the maximum for each family) and dropped it off to the Manukau branch and picked up 7 test pots of pastel water based paints.

I think the best part of it was in choosing the colours, apart from the fact that the cans were going to an important cause and there were a couple of families who did the same.

The colours we chose were for a project that we had discussed at the beginning of the year of re-painting a dolls house that I had bought over 15+ years ago complete with furnishings and dolls that we had bought over the years. Now it will be getting a new lease of life and painting over the white coat that it has had for years.

So if you are considering to start a small painting project that could do with a few pots of tester paints then why not check out the website on: www.resene.co.nz and give to an important cause with a swap of food cans. It could bring a little more colour into your life...

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Sibling love and support...

Yesterday, I had the privilege of acting as chauffeur for our three youngins' as our eldest took our youngest for a shopping treat out at Dressmart, a labels outlet shopping experience of our eldest teenager with our 9-year-old.

With Uni yet to start for our eldest and a teachers' only day at school for our youngest, with our middle child yet to start at her new high school. it set the scene for a neat girls' day out.

It was neat to see them interacting and trying on different clothes, sports shoes, eating sushi and boba tea with a lot of love and a new experience for our youngest (I'm not partial to labels especially with multinational companies paying minimal wages for sweatshop labels labour).

This pic was particularly funny for me as it looked like someone with their hands in their pockets but instead, it was a Converse hoodie hanging up on a rack.

Afterwards, it was time to return home all suited up with shopping bags and ready for rest and relaxation. It was also neat to see how sibling relationships have grown over time and prayerful for those relationships to continue into adulthood. A real blessing to see...

Monday, 15 February 2021

Auckland at Alert level 3...


On the way home from our Valentine's day dinner we were surprised to find out from our eldest that we were going into Alert level 3 as she'd also been notified whilst on a Valentine's evening out.

Whilst returning home, I checked on the 'Unite against COVID-19' App' and found out that it would start at midnight and continue until midnight on Wednesday unless otherwise announced.

That was surprisingly quick as we had learnt only a few days ago that Melbourne was going into Lockdown and now we are also. It does mean that most schools and Early childhood centres are closed except for children of Essential workers for which provisions must be made for them by schools/centres.

It also means that those who are able must work from home and all precautions must be made whilst out and about with the encouragement of wearing masks and ensuring to check the Ministry of Health website in case you were at any of the places in question that the three infected South Auckland positive case family members went to.

Those places include: Papatoetoe high school that the daughter of the couple attends. That school is closed for a deep clean (I assume) with close contacts notified to self isolate and get tested. A location at Auckland Airport in Mangere that the mother works at, with the same applying and several places of interest including locations outside South Auckland that members of the family attended.

For the next three rainy days, my two bubble family/s will be hunkered down and out of circulation as the variant that has been revealed in South Auckland is one that is dangerously transmissible and has taken many lives like those in Europe, South America, USA and South Africa.

Stay safe Auckland and keep abreast of the news with afternoon announcements from the Prime Minister, in the next 3 days, as they try and trace the origin/s of this variant for this family and any other infected persons and to seek if it has been transmitted widely within the community/s...

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Waitangi Day - long weekend...


This long weekend is our second long weekend observed in Auckland after our Auckland anniversary last weekend which was very much appreciated with many families enjoying time together now many schools and work are back into full swing.

Interestingly enough, Google also put out an image of a marae (a traditional Maori meeting house as pictured) on our Waitangi day that annually falls on the 6th of February.

It's commemorated as the day, in 1840, when representatives of the Crown (meaning England as a sovereign state with Queen Victoria) signed a treaty with many representatives of Maori iwi (tribes) from around the country.

What we find out later, in my own studies, was that there were two versions i.e. the English version and the Maori version of which many Maori paramount chiefs signed and they both have different meanings to what was understood about the treaty partnership.

Fast forward to today and still that partnership is honoured at a beautiful place called Waitangi which is located to the North of Auckland of several hours drive, and many government officials and Maori iwi representatives join together to celebrate the occasion on this day.

As for my family, we take it easy and realise how blessed we are in living in this country especially as the pandemic war wages across the globe killing hundreds of thousands for which we often pray about but thankful for our relative safety, isolation and the growing positive relations that are being forged between the various ethnicities in our small country...

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Ministry of Education's Pacific Education Innovation Funding...


In a surprising miracle this week, our Samoan Early childhood centre received a letter of success for a last-minute application that we applied for in November from the Ministry of Education's Pacific Education Innovation Fund.

This Innovation Fund was launched in September of last year with the purpose of supporting the development of innovative practices in Pacific bilingual and immersion education in schools and in Early learning centres like ours.

I thank God for this amazing opportunity as it allows for me to share the knowledge that I've gained in Indigenous research teaching and experiences in education contracts over my many years of teaching and learning in education to support the design of a curriculum that would be beneficial for our community of learning and also innovative in it's practice.

There are so many possibilities and I thank the panel who read through our application and could understand the genuineness but also the possibilities of what this funding would be able to do for our communities as I hope to pilot this project with our Samoan centre and then share the ideas for our neighbouring Cook Islands and Niue Early childhood centres to also apply for upcoming funding...

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Watching the 'Croods 2' movie...


Last night, we had a 6 girls' night out watching the latest movie of the 'Croods' followed by a dinner shouted out by our eldest. I liked the first movie so thought that watching it on the last public holiday before school started would be a neat way to finish the holiday period.

I enjoyed the movie as a whole (no spoiler alerts) but still preferred the first movie over this one although the three teenagers preferred it with all its action scenes and interesting themes of tradition vs modern conveniences.

I actually felt like it was two movies in one as there was a totally different location for the second half of the movie as compared to the first half. Other than that, I think that it is a recommended family movie for a low key take it easy action movie with some interesting themes to consider...

Monday, 1 February 2021

Changing direction of PhD...


This long weekend, as well as catching up on a lot of paperwork that I write for my work, the boards that I'm on and correspondence that I keep, I'm also working on some writing and especially with the goal to finish my doctoral studies next year.

It's been a long and arduous journey since my first attempt in 2007 and haven't really stopped since with so much to consider writing about and much to reflect upon.

However, the saddest part for me is that with this global pandemic much of the fieldwork and tofā sa'ili (indigenous research) that I wanted to undertake in Samoa does not look like it will eventuate and I don't have much of a say in it.

With the international borders closed and the cost of going into quarantine and time lost, I'll be looking at changing my fieldwork to incorporate a New Zealand based albeit Auckland location.

This is really sad because the whole basis of what I wanted to do was to have my research-based in Samoa where all of the important cultural concepts originated but then again, I can work it to my advantage by looking at it from a more diasporic Samoan approach.

So now I'll have to rewrite some of my chapters and make some new considerations as to what that might look like but the exciting thing is now to work on finishing the work that I started those many years ago and then hand it in next year.

With so much to do and so little time, there's no more time for excuses or for waiting around for international borders to open or for a vaccine, it's just time to start towards the finish line with the goal in mind - completing this and with God's blessing and support, it can be done...

Sunday, 31 January 2021

"Finding Ohana' Netflix movie...

 Last night, I watched the new Netflix movie 'Finding Ohana' which is based on a family of diaspora Hawaiians from New York who went to visit their sick grandfather/father and made some discoveries of their own.

It was good to finally watch a movie about native Hawaiians and to listen to their language in which my younger sister and I commented on how some of the words were close to or variations of Maori and Samoan words that we were aware of.

As diaspora Samoans, we were also cognizant of the issues similar to those in the movie of raising children away from the motherland and mother tongue whereby English becomes the dominant language within the household of diasporic families.

It was also interesting to learn of and have an understanding of some of their native Hawaiian traditional cultural and spiritual practices about things that are tapu or taboo or kapu (Hawaiian) that were forbidden such as sacred places where the ancestors were buried or bones were kept.

All in all, a very interesting movie to watch and also the antics of American Hawaiians who were used to living in Brooklyn and the different views that they had with their native Hawaiian family members. I'd highly recommend it for family viewing and discussing over these last few days of the holidays...

Saturday, 30 January 2021

1 week Holiday programme at Rainbow's End...

 This week my younger two children attended a one-week holiday programme that was hosted by an art/music tutor who had been my art tutor last year. It was a pretty full-on programme consisting of:

Day 1 Monday: Whakawhanaungatanga (getting to know each other) Art - painting & slime making day

Day 2 Tuesday: Music day and making music with different musical instruments

Day 3 Wednesday: Device day with laptops, mobile phones, tablets, PS4 (Play Station) digital games day. 

Some were also encouraged to volunteer to do some gardening at the local school that was just next door which consisted of weeding some of the gardens and tidying up the grounds area before school was to start next week.

Day 4 Thursday: Outdoors games day with swing ball, Nerf ball i.e. get wet, ball games etc.

Day 5 Friday: Final day out at Rainbow's End theme park with endless rides from 10am to 5pm (7 hours less lunch and snacks of fun)

Needless to say that the whole week was fun-filled with new friends and mates to talk with. The venue was a community hall in Wiri and there were lots of mums helping out and making sure that all was well with snacks and support all day through.

Yesterday mine came back absolutely excited at all the rides that they were able to go to, and talked about the ones that they went on a second and third time as well as the ones that they avoided. A really neat way to end the school holidays with most schools starting next week on Thursday...

Friday, 29 January 2021

Happy 16th Birthday to our middle child...


Happy 16th birthday to my middle child and I was at it again finishing another quilt creation for her with one more to go for another birthday in March.

I call it fabric artistry where the fabric artistic can determine the colours, the fabric, the design and then put it all together to create an artistic blanket.

With this particular design, the intertwining blue and white panels match the white and blue patterned curtains in our middle child's bedroom.

I think I get a lot of satisfaction to know that I've made the effort (and had the time) to be able to create something meaningful that I've made myself especially if I call myself an artist (using different mediums).

And I have my mother to thank for teaching me how to sew, knit, crochet, bake, cook, clean and the list goes on. In fact, I'm seeing that some of these skills are becoming obsolete with technology and instant buying rather than creating something that may take a bit more time but can absolutely create wonderful memories and a treasure that can be passed on and not always easily broken.

And with this being the last week of holidays, albeit a long weekend, with schools starting across the country next week, it marks the end of holiday bliss and the start of the routine of getting up for school and returning. All good things must come to an end...

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

A shortage of Pasifika and Maori dentists...


Today, I took our youngest to the dentist for an annual check-up and struck up a conversation with a Samoan dental nurse.

I was interested to learn that there are few Pasifika dental clinicians and even fewer Samoan, in fact, I learned that there is a high demand for Pasifika dental assistants in South Auckland but few complete the training.

The dental nurse wondered why there was little interest from Pasifika peoples as the pay is comparable and the work conditions are much better in most cases than the heavy workload of nursing where many Pasifika women study.

One does need to study for a 3-year degree with AUT University in Auckland in order to work with children but I learned of another Samoan who was completing his 5-year dentistry degree at Otago University in order to be a qualified dentist for adults as well.

I do hope more are given the opportunity to consider if this is something for them as there is a shortage of Pasifika and Maori dental nurses (I'm not actually sure of the correct term for them now). And there is no shortage of work either with free dental visits for children until their 18th Birthdays.

Hopefully, in years to come, this will change as youth realise that there are diverse jobs and skills needed in the job and/or business market. But suffice to say that I was reminded that flossing and brushing twice a day can keep the dentist away (except for visiting 6 monthly as an adult)...

Monday, 25 January 2021

Watermelon salad recipe (Otai) for hot summer days...

This weekend, I made some 'Salaki meleni' or Watermelon salad or what Tongan's call 'Otai' which is similar to the watermelon salad that I grew up with except that it adds coconut cream and crushed pineapple.

It's really easy to make and neat on a hot summer's day especially if it's been refrigerated or has some ice added to it but here is the general recipe:

1 watermelon (adult palm size) scrape out the pulp and juice

1 can of crushed pineapple

1 cup milk/coconut cream (some even add a few tablespoons of condensed milk)

1 can of mixed fruit (or whatever fresh fruit you like in cubes)

1/4 cup sugar to taste (I don't add any)

Stir it all in a big bowl add ice and serve with a spoon. Some even add cream crackers.


Sunday, 24 January 2021

Happy 25th Birthday to my lil' sis...

 A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lil' sis who turned a quarter of a century yesterday at 25. She's currently on holiday and waiting to continue her study in the second year of a Master of Indigenous Knowledge at Te Wananga o Aotearoa with an exegesis to write and submit alongside her community project.

The neat thing is that, like me, she's continued with the artistic genes of our family in successfully completing a senior high school course specializing in Art and the arts, then completing a degree in Social work that she graduated from (post COVID-19) and her community project will be around utilising Samoan indigenous artistic concepts in her Master's.

I've featured some of her artwork in several of my book covers and have already commissioned one for a book hoping to be launched in a few months time.

So for her birthday gift, I decided to continue to make another quilt, in fact, I've decided to make some more for family birthdays throughout the year as a fabric sewing artist.

What's neat about it is considering which coloured squares complement each other, and sewing them from a duvet to give matching pillowcases from a Queen's duvet set. I've always been into colour since pre-school and love colour matching and complementing.

She absolutely loved the gift and have started making another for another birthday gift later in the week and always have blues in my colour palette which is one of my all time favourite colours i.e. indigo blue. 

So all the best for my lil' sis and I pray the best for her in all of her future endeavours including her studies, her friendships and the support she gives to our family and also for what the future holds for her. God bless with lots of alofa (love) coming her way...