Guest Writer

MANU SAMOA: A Viewer Comments

If we are all honest with ourselves, then there is no surprise the Samoa Rugby Union is broke.  Who could have guessed that after years of financial mismanagement and corruption the once mighty Manu would be brought to its knees in such an embarassing fashion?

Well we all did really.

The fact that it happened today doesn't make it any easier to swallow. The alarm bells were there, and culminated in a player revolt at the 2011 World Cup.  The promises made by the board and the Prime Minister have changed nothing.  The levels of corruption at SRU must be so deeply rooted you would need Wonder Woman and all her sisters from the girl island to dig for a thousand years before you could weed it all out.

Yes there were a few that fought a good fight in the name of the Manu and it's players, but most of them, where it most mattered sat back and enjoyed the ride.  In a sense I'm glad it has come to this.…more


Guest Writer

I DON’T WANT TO BE A CARER, I JUST WANT TO BE A DAUGHTER

By Grace Taylor 

Something you would not expect the daughter of a Samoan woman to say, but yeah, I said it.

Being afakasi, my mother tongue was not a fluent language for me but what I did learn was fa’a Samoa. Mostly as an observer and occasional participant. By the time I was in my mid-20s I had learned how to navigate the politics of my afakasi-ness well. This fringe dwelling position granted me the ability to exercise analyzing the sociology of fa’a Samoa from the perspective of one that dips her toes in each worlds simultaneously. Two key principles of fa’a Samoa is alofa (love) and aiga (family). Whilst I have only been surrounded with my immediate aiga in my daily life, these two principles are entrenched in my DNA. This means that when these things are absent or lacking in my life, they are missed. Therefore, I ensure that as a single mother my son is surrounded by love and has as much access to quality time with both my aiga and his fathers.…more


Guest Writer

CONVERSATIONS WITH TEEN MUMS - KAEL

Auckland filmmaker Juliette Veber began her just-launched website documentary project Conversations with Teen Mums with the aim of challenging the stereotypes of young mums. 

The project began in 2013, when Veber noticed a New York City advertising campaign shaming teen mums. It included slogans like, ‘Because of you mommy, I’m less likely to get a college degree’.

Veber recalls, ‘I found it offensive. I wondered what it would be like to be a pregnant teen or a young mum reading a campaign filled with negative stereotypes and lacking in any kind of hope or encouragement’.

Over four years Veber documented the lives of 16 young mums, sharing their stories, perspectives and experiences in photos, text and film on the website.

‘I looked for subjects who aimed to get off the benefit and into work. Young mums with hopes and dreams, who wanted to offer their children opportunities and choices in life.’

‘The project is not about glamorising teen pregnancy.…more


Guest Writer

CONVERSATIONS WITH TEEN MUMS - SALOTE

Auckland filmmaker Juliette Veber began her just-launched website documentary project Conversations with Teen Mums with the aim of challenging the stereotypes of young mums. 

The project began in 2013, when Veber noticed a New York City advertising campaign shaming teen mums. It included slogans like, ‘Because of you mommy, I’m less likely to get a college degree’.

Veber recalls, ‘I found it offensive. I wondered what it would be like to be a pregnant teen or a young mum reading a campaign filled with negative stereotypes and lacking in any kind of hope or encouragement’.

Over four years Veber documented the lives of 16 young mums, sharing their stories, perspectives and experiences in photos, text and film on the website.

‘I looked for subjects who aimed to get off the benefit and into work. Young mums with hopes and dreams, who wanted to offer their children opportunities and choices in life.’

‘The project is not about glamorising teen pregnancy.…more


Guest Writer

CONVERSATIONS WITH TEEN MUMS - FLORENCE

Auckland filmmaker Juliette Veber began her just-launched website documentary project Conversations with Teen Mums with the aim of challenging the stereotypes of young mums. 

The project began in 2013, when Veber noticed a New York City advertising campaign shaming teen mums. It included slogans like, ‘Because of you mommy, I’m less likely to get a college degree’.

Veber recalls, ‘I found it offensive. I wondered what it would be like to be a pregnant teen or a young mum reading a campaign filled with negative stereotypes and lacking in any kind of hope or encouragement’.

Over four years Veber documented the lives of 16 young mums, sharing their stories, perspectives and experiences in photos, text and film on the website.

‘I looked for subjects who aimed to get off the benefit and into work. Young mums with hopes and dreams, who wanted to offer their children opportunities and choices in life.’

‘The project is not about glamorising teen pregnancy.…more


Guest Writer

The land of Milk and very little Honey!

By Kristin McCarthy 

The land of Milk and Honey... And Debt.

As a Pacific person, or as any person I suppose, the first way I learnt to manage my money was from how my parents managed their money.  My parents migrated to NZ from Samoa in the mid 80’s and had rarely or never managed actual physical money before that so it's safe to say that they weren’t very good at it.  Any offer of immediate money aka cash loans they would take, not understanding the repercussions aka repayments and interest.

In the Islands wealth was displayed in offering food, mats and acts of service.  So being offered the idea of “free money” or a small plastic card that magically gave you money in NZ was what they thought people meant when they said come to “NZ, the land of milk and honey.”

I hear people say “Islanders are bad with money aye.”  We’re not bad at managing money, we just don’t really know how to and we have much wider family and community commitments than your average palagi.…more


Guest Writer

FROM HIGH HEELS TO THE VILLAGE HILLS

By Floris Niu

Leaving the corporate world of NZ for my village Cacao farm in Samoa is a journey into nature, customary land, village life, organic Cacao growing plus re-discovering & re-inventing my island diet…

I had been stuck in a corporate job in NZ, making good money, for almost 2 decades yet my life was going nowhere. I worked so hard and for long hours that my body broke. Yes, your body can break and it warns you about this break-down through sudden and unexplained illness.

Sometimes life tricks you into thinking that everything is going so well…you’re becoming a success and achieving all the goals you thought were important in your life.

Then BOOM! In a split second, you end up in emergency surgery fighting for your life. You end up having serious conversations with God about giving you another chance because you had so many plans…and much more to live for.

I’m almost certain that I am not the first person to bargain with God during a “near-death-experience” episode.…more


Guest Writer

'Raise a Paddle' – A journey of Pacific Climate Warriors

‘Raise a Paddle’ is a short documentary that follows a small group of Pacific Climate Warriors as they embark on a journey to the Canadian tar sands. It tells the story of how an oil pipeline expansion all the way in Canada, can affect our small Island home here in beautiful Samoa. President Justin Trudeau’s recently approved pipelines will not only destroy sacred land for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, they will also contribute to the worsening effects of climate change in the Pacific.

Last week, Samoa was privileged to have a group of the Pacific Climate Warriors in town to present a community screening of ‘Raise a Paddle’ and shed light on this important issue. The event was open to the public and it encouraged ALL to attend and engage in discussion around climate change.

Amongst the visiting Warriors was Fenton Lutunatabua (350.org Pacific Campaigner) who gave us a little insight into ‘who they are’ and ‘what they do’. “The Pacific Climate Warriors are a network of climate activists that are active in 15 of the Pacific Island Nations.…more


Guest Writer

THE OCEAN CONFERENCE & US

The boat was a necessary part of our lives in Savaii. We spent many days back and forth on those damned boats, smelling of diesel fumes and rocking to every inch of wind that caressed the waves. I hated the boat, but what I did love, was staring in the deep blue ocean, appreciating the horizon as I waited for the shape of my island to get bigger and bigger as the boat approached.

I never viewed the ocean as a separate entity – it always seemed, essentially a part of who we were, are and always will be. An island after all, is an island because of the ocean that surrounds it and laps on its fringes. The memories and thoughts of my children catching crabs by the sea, slapping the waves as they hit the shore and tasting the seaweed between their chubby little fingers, seem far removed from the discussions taking place at The Ocean Conference in the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations.…more


Guest Writer

Ooga Booga

Ten years ago I was doing a warm down at a Les Mills class in Christchurch which required everyone to do a haka-type move to a track by Te Vaka.  Just before the haka move the white instructor assumed a pre-haka squat, looked out over the class, took a deep breath then yelled out “Ooga booga” at the top of her lungs before proceeding to slap her thighs, haka-style.

I looked around the class to see who else was appalled by the instructor’s unbridled employment of such a deeply inappropriate and highly racist term: but no one else so much as batted an eyelid.  And then I remembered.

I was in Christchurch.

I’d never heard the phrase oooga booga uttered un-ironically until that point. But a couple of years later I walked into a Tiki bar in Los Angeles just in time to hear a group of punters chanting “ooga booga, oooga booga’ before they skulled their cocktails.…more