Guest Writer

Cook Islands Mama's lose their Taonga and their trust...

The Kuki Airani Mama’s who were left high and dry in Europe, had to sell one of their treasured Tivaevae to buy food to feed the group on their 3 week ordeal.

People have come together to rally behind the Mama’s who travelled to Europe only to be left in the lurch by an organiser who they say had “promised them so much, and yet failed to deliver on almost every aspect.”

After a shock announcement midway through their journey to Europe that costs for their accommodation and food wouldn’t be covered as promised, the Mamas say they were forced to put together their small pool of funds to come up with a budget solution.

Part of this solution was one of the mama’s selling her personal tivaevae which was to be used for display during one of the organised workshops in order to help with food expenses for her friends, most of whom are in retirement and living off their meagre pensions.…more


Guest Writer

PROTECTING OUR BABIES

This is for any parent, aunty, uncle, big brother or sister.

It has come to my attention that young kids have been playing a game called “BLUE WHALE” which is an online game where children are told to complete one self harm challenge per day for 50 days ..... where to win the game you must commit suicide.

It’s easy to just read this and dismiss it thinking 'my kid knows better’ but please, please take precaution anyway.
Over 100 children in Russia fell victim to this game, and the game is now going global.
 
There are also videos on youtube which tell young children that to become a “fairy”  they must turn their oven on at night while everyone is sleeping and let the ‘magical gas” fill the house.  They are told not to tell any adults or the magic won’t work.
There are paedophiles who make fake pages online to groom younger children not to mention the horrible cyber bullying that happens everyday.…more

Guest Writer

World Press Freedom Day : Bloggers vs Journalists

Fifteen years ago, I entered journalism - a profession that I truly and utterly believed in, as a fundamental aspect of democracy. In my innocence, I developed a nose for news, I finessed my writing skills and developed and sustained the art of feigning interest in subject matters that can put a baby to sleep.

My passion for this trade is so great that even after the usual death threats, the burning of the Newsline Newspaper office while I was Editor, a black eye by a generous member of the public and various other unfortunate incidences resulting from my writings – as faced by many of my colleagues, I still write, and I still advocate for press freedom and I still think journalism is an awesome job, even though it is no longer my primary income source, because, frankly, my kids need to eat.

On this World Press Freedom Day however, I think we need to talk about facts, about fake news and the ignorant public that consumes it.…more


Guest Writer

"You're Too Good To Work In A Factory"

Fresh out of Film School with a Diploma in hand at the end of 2016 it was time to look for a job, and just like many people predicted – I didn’t get one.

So there I am, depressed to say the least working hard at my Part Time job at JayJays Manukau (shout out to my Jays gals, miss you) when my Aunty Tai walks in talking about the new job she has for me at her workplace. I smiled and listened (but wasn’t really listening) & it wasn't until I heard that beautiful payrate of 17.62 an hour did my spirits lift.  

3 weeks later - left my jobs at Jays and started my new job at Deane Apparel.  Now for those of you who don’t know, Deane Apparel is a Factory that also has a little shop and my job is to pick orders in the factory and also cover the shop ladies lunch breaks in the shop.…more


Guest Writer

Samoa Victim Support Group - A Ray of Hope to many

The Samoa Victim’s Support Group (SVSG) is an organization dear to my heart & it always will be.

Last April was the opening of the Ray of Hope House, a home built in honour of my late father and all that he stood for: love, kindness, and a special generosity for those in need.  

The home was built to be a place of comfort and peace for young mothers that experienced traumatic journeys of sexual violence - 6 bedrooms, 18 beds, and a nursing room that I will always be proud of.

SVSG takes in everyone that comes to their door in search of a life free from violence.  However, they do not always have the resource to accommodate their ever-expanding shelter.  The majority of their staff mostly consists of temporary volunteers so it is also difficult to keep consistency of operations.

In whatever way they fall short as an organization, it is but a molehill in comparison to the mountain of incredible work they do, the lives they save, and the contribution they make to the welfare of our country.…more


Guest Writer

MOANA and Climate Change!

Over the past few weeks our very own Polynesian heroine has taken the world by storm. After years of trying to search for little bits of ourselves in Jasmine, Mulan and Elsa, our Pacific people finally have a MOANA to call our very own. Instead of looking to the western world, the western world is now stopping, turning around and looking to us.

 

Almost everything in MOANA gave me chills, from the Tatau on Chief Tui to the familiar beats of Te Vaka. Although, there was one scene that stood out the most to me, the scene where Grandma Tala’s spirit appears to reinsure MOANA of her purpose and MOANA sings “I am a girl who loves my island, I’m the girl who loves the sea, it calls me”. At the sound of those lyrics images of Pacific climate change warriors and activists started appearing in my head.…more


Guest Writer

Disney's special screening of MOANA in Samoa

Last night, the town of Apia was buzzing with excitement at the arrival of Disney's own Auli'i Cravalho, the voice of MOANA.  A blue carpet at Apollo Cinemas welcomed the rising star along with producer Osnat Shurer and directors Ron Clements and John Musker.

L-R Ron Clements, Osnat Shurer, Auli'i Cravalho and John Musker

Upon first meeting Auli'i, I could sense her energy from a mile away. A vibrant young woman, oozing with charisma and bursting with positivity. It was not hard to see why she was picked for the role. She had X Factor! She embodied everything that was MOANA. When asked why it was important that young Pacific women be portrayed as leaders, Auli'i responded that "Disney films are reflective of their times. Right now what we need are more beautiful women who are going to lead themselves."

Cherelle, Auli'i & Brianna

It was also great to have the opportunity to pick the brains of the masterminds behind the whole MOANA production.…more


Guest Writer

Tafa Dr Esther Cowley-Malcolm and why she is 'Standing with Standing Rock'

Today while Americans celebrate 'Thanksgiving', many Native Americans remain united at Standing Rock to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline and protect the Missouri River & sacred sites of the Sioux Tribe.

Native Americans have seen this kind of drama unfold for centuries and have long marked Thanksgiving as a day of remembrance rather than a celebration.    Native American Jaqueline Keeler who is a member of the Dakota Sioux Tribe says they don't think of it as a National Holiday the way the rest of the country does "Thanksgiving tells a story that is convenient for Americans but it’s a celebration of our survival. I recognize it as a chance for my family to come together as survivors, pretty much in defiance.”

As freelance writer David Denis Jr observed sarcastically "Make America Great Again means we get to celebrate Thanksgiving while Native Americans are getting their land taken from them.... Just like the good old days"

Many indigenous people from around the world have travelled to Standing Rock to show their support and stand in solidarity with the indigenous people of America.…more


Guest Writer

Tail of the Taniwha

By Courtney Sina Meredith 

Courtney Sina Meredith (1986–) is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician. Her play Rushing Dolls (2010) won a number of awards and was published by Playmarket in 2012. She launched her first book of poetry, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick (Beatnik), at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair.  Meredith describes her writing as an ‘ongoing discussion of contemporary urban life with an underlying Pacific politique’. Her poetry and prose have been translated into Italian, German, Dutch, French and Bahasa Indonesia.  She is of Samoan, Mangaian (Cook Island) and Irish descent.

She leaves tomorrow to be New Zealand’s representative for the Fall Residency at the International Writing Program, Iowa University from August to November 2016.  After Iowa, she will travel to the Island Institute in Sitka Alaska as a Teaching Artist in Residence.

Check out the rest of her amazing bio here

'Tail of the Taniwha' (Beatnik 2016) is Meredith’s first book of short stories.  We've included an excerpt of one of her short stories in 'Tail of the Taniwha' below ....…more


Guest Writer

Reviving Fijis Traditional Architecture

Fijian architecture enthralled early European voyagers and history writers when they set foot on Fiji more than two centuries ago.

Many wrote about the beauty of its design and magnificent sizes and shapes of these traditional houses, generically known in the Bauan language as ‘Vale’ (house) or ‘Vale Vakaviti (Fijian house). They were also in awe of the master- designers and architects, traditionally called mataisau, whose design and workmanship resulted in creatively built houses that have been admired the world over. Despite its magnificent reputation, modernization has brought in a lot of changes to houses in Fiji today. In some rural areas of Fiji, traditional ‘Bure’, pronounced as ‘Boo-ray’ can still be seen however many villages have adopted the use of modern materials such as bricks, corrugated iron and treated wood to build their houses.

In every traditional Fijian village, there were many different types of dwellings depending on the occupants and their purposes or functions.  Burenisa was a dwelling for young men and burekalou (priest-house) was the tallest building in any village.…more