Samoa is due to close out its 60th Independence celebrations and bring in their 61st year of Independence with an epic program which starts on Friday 26th of May.
So if you're heading back to the Motherland we've outlined some of the events during the week, wrapping up with the 'Motherland Samoa' festival on Saturday the 3rd of June below ...
The legendary fautasi races are back this year with five long boats confirmed to compete including a crew from the island of Manono Tai.
The five long boats are Tolotolo o Tamauli from Salelologa, Don Bosco, Segavao, Toamua & Telefoni o le Vainu'u (Manono Tai's entry) and the regatta is scheduled for the morning of the 26th of May.
Watch this piece below on the first woman to ever skipper a Samoan fautasi - Zita Martel - breaking with years of tradition for this ancient Samoan sport, and facing insurmountable odds in doing so.…more
Your favourite drag queen's favourite drag queen Sasha Kekauoha aka Sasha Colby was crowned the winner of Ru Paul's Drag Race on Friday.
The native Hawaiian from Waimanalo, Hawai'i was already considered a drag and pageant legend having won the Miss Continental drag queen pageantry title in 2012 & when she made the final two in Drag Race, she ultimately came out on top once again after one of the fiercest lip sync battles in the franchise's recent history.
She's now ready and prepared for the next 20 years of uplifting the queer community.
“Sasha Colby is the kind of talent that comes around once in a generation,” said RuPaul. “She embodies all the qualities of America’s Next Drag Superstar and so much more."
Watch her final lip sync battle -
In an interview with Vogue magazine she shares about finding her queerness while growing up a Jehovah’s Witness, developing her artistry, and the many fashion references that have informed her looks.…more
The world's top court will for the first time advise on countries' legal obligations to fight climate change, thanks to an idea that started in a classroom at the University of the South Pacific.
The idea to use Internation Law to catalyze more action began as a class exercise by environmental law students at the University of the South Pacific. Students who turned an assignment into a global campaign with the goal to refer the world’s biggest problem to the world’s highest court (International Court of Justice, The Hague) by seeking an Advisory Opinion from the court on the issue of climate change and human rights.
This Pasifika youth-built campaign was then taken up by Vanuatu who led the appeal from a governmental level. What began in a classroom in the Pacific islands reached the offices of more than 105 nations that have formed a coalition of support behind Vanuatu.
On Wednesday 29th of March after four years of campaigning the United Nations approved the resolution put forward by Vanuatu from a seed planted by students.…more
Last week and over the weekend, Maoriland Film Festival in the small seaside town of Ōtaki celebrated its 10 year anniversary - an annual event which is now the largest of its kind in the world.
Over 140 films were screened over five days made by film-makers from 150 indigenous nations. Amongst these nations were a number of Pasifika film makers from as far away as Hawai'i as well as NZ based Pacific islanders who were showing their films and connecting with other indigenous creatives.
'A Boy Called Piano, the powerful story of state abuse and the Luafutu family won the hearts of the festival, winning the 'Rimu' People's Choice for Best Feature Documentary' Award.
Tane Luafutu who is of Samoan/Maori heritage was there screening the critically acclaimed documentary in which he plays his grandfather - Fa'amoana John Luafutu - in his younger years.…more
Cover image Thomas Wandstraat
Polyfest 2023 was back live and in full effect at the Manukau Sports Bowl again after 4 years of disruption and absence.
We're bringing you as many of the full Polyfest performances from the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa & Tonga stages as we can right here - check in over the next week or two to see if we caught your school in action.…more
2023 so far has been another year our global climate reality has hit us hard.
The Auckland floods, Cyclone Gabrielle, snow in California, the storm in Brazil and climate disasters popping up around the world. Average citizens are coming to the reality that climate change is not only threat to peoples futures but a crisis of the present.
Vanuatu in a span of a week experienced two cyclones and a magnitude 6.6 earthquake. Cyclones that would normally occur once every few years has now devastated the islands twice, only days apart. Villages left without power, homes completely destroyed, roads ripped up and people left displaced. This is not a new occurrence for a nation like Vanuatu. They have been fighting climate change for the past decade, including restoring the island after 2015's Cyclone Pam.
Former Prime Minister of Vanuatu Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakausaid said in an interview, “Vanuatu is out of time. We are doing all we can, yet losing this battle for which we are not responsible.…more
Now that accommodation and evacuation centres have been set up, we have an update on where the displaced Pasifika RSE workers are staying in the aftermath of the Cyclone Gabrielle floods.
We've also included details of organisations you can donate to who are providing care and assistance as well as distributing donations, food, clothing and other basic necessities to these workers and others in Hawkes Bay who have lost everything.…more
UK Pop Star Ed Sheeran surprises Manurewa Intermediate with a mini concert and FREE tickets to his weekend show!
When Manurewa Intermediate children went off to school this morning, they never would have guessed they'd be getting their own mini concert by international pop star Ed Sheeran.
Deputy Principal Ross Devereux told 1News that aside from him and school leadership, none of the staff or students knew about the performance - to say the least, things got wild when he rocked up.
Jerome Tairi shared on his facebook page the childrens reaction when Ed Sheeran walked into the hall - check out the response from the 900 students below -
Sheeran played three songs for the kids with everyone singing along with him.
Ojay Solomona shared the below clip on his instagram of everyone totally hyped and singing along to his slow jam 'Perfect'.
Deputy Principal Ross Devereux also told 1News that he also gave a lovely speech to the kids about what it means to fulfil your own journey in life.…more
“The saddest thing to see are the people sleeping at the airport because they have no money for accommodation” - Tamati Ratahi
“Paradise now feels like a prison when you are trapped here and the people who rely on to get you out arent speaking to you” - Aaron Davy
"I’m one of the kiwis stuck in Samoa. Air NZ would never treat people in Europe like they’re treating us” - Michelle Blau via Twitter
“The Air NZ office in Apia is locked. People start queuing at 7 am for the chance to talk to someone. I waited 3 hours and got nowhere. The staff were lovely but overwhelmed and powerless…People were crying about running out of medicine, missing their spot in Uni programmes, missing medical appointments etc. We got an email saying it would be 72 hours before we hear anything from Air NZ.…more
The Māngere community was one of the hardest hit areas in South Auckland affected by the flooding on January 27th.
After it was announced the South Auckland evacuation centre was going to be in Randwick Park, Manurewa; Local Mangere councillors and community advocates fought hard to have a community information pop up centre set up for Māngere residents struggling to find info on where to get help and access support services.
They will be moving tomorrow from the Māngere Memorial Hall in Māngere Bridge (Tuesday 31st Jan) to Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Pool & Leisure Centre where it will become an official evacuation centre complete with beds and showers as well as the social services shown in the video above.
Māngere-Otāhuhu local board chair Tauanu'u Nick Bakulich said that they've found there are many people who still don't realise this service is available and are calling on people to let friends and family know that they can either come to the Evacuation Centre OR that there are outreach teams available to go out and assist families at their homes.…more