By Lefaoali’i Dion Enari
Drill rap artists such as One Four and HP Boyz are Australian hip hop icons. But what does this mean for Pasifika?
There is no question of the talent, innovation and influence they possess. For many of their fans, they are amazing musicians. However, for Pasifika youth, particularly in Australia, they see more than just rap artists, more importantly, they see their brothers, cousins and themselves.
As a Pasifika person growing up in Australia; our realities were never reflected in the hip hop industry.
I can remember clearly, much of the hip hop we consumed in Australia was either by white Australians or imported from America or the United Kingdom.
Even the hip hop we heard from other Pasifika people either came direct from the Islands, New Zealand or America. Although I was proud to hear hip hop from people that looked like me and were connected through ethnic ties, I still felt disconnected.…more
By Liz Ah-Hi
The inaugural Palolo Festival was well underway at the Vaimoana Seaside Lodge in Asau, Savaii and my friend Lufi and I were lounging in front our beach fale with a few G&Ts celebrating some ‘firsts’ of our own by toasting to the beginning of our Palolo hunting adventure.
Earlier in the day we completed our first essential tasks in the process of Palolo hunting by making our own a’a (handmade scoop nets), ato (coconut leaf basket) and a range of flower necklaces which proved to me that our ancestors valued the art of accessorizing for any event not excluding hunting.
Surprisingly, making your own palolo catching utensils requires a fair amount of strength and hand to eye coordination. While the nimble hands of the experienced Vaimoana staff breezed through the shaping, weaving and sewing of natural materials - Lufi and I abandoned hopes of making pinterest worthy palolo paraphernalia in an effort to complete our kit before sundown.…more
This Saturday, New Zealand will decide on its Prime Minister. People in our communities have questioned whether it’s worth voting.
As I look at our history, struggles and victories as Pasifika people in New Zealand, I believe we owe it to past and future generations, to have our say at the ballot box.
Our people have a long standing connection with New Zealand, from large numbers of us migrating in the 1950’s to the illegal dawn raids that saw many of our parents and grandparents unfairly targeted and racially vilified.
Sadly, many Pasifika in generations before were unable to vote, due to their citizenship status.…more
By Lefaoali’i Dion Enari
Watching Asuelu, his wife, mum and sisters argue over money on 90 day fiance has sparked much debate. Some believe he did not give enough, while others found the request for one thousand extreme.
The more I watched the show, the less I judged, and realised how complex the situation was for Asuelu.
As a Christian husband and father, under the bible, it is his responsibility to protect and provide for his wife and kids. Simultaneously, as a Samoan son and brother, he is also bound by the feagaiga (sacred covenant) between his mother and sisters, with a duty to love, care and protect them. As a Samoan Christian he must consult with his wife and listen to the fautuaga (advice) of his mother and sisters.
Irrespective of if the show is scripted or not, this is a lived experience for many of us. We face challenges that come with balancing roles as a married partner, parent, son/daughter and sibling, whilst also providing tautua (service) to our extended family.…more
New Zealand Registered Nurse and Pacific Health Advocator Ange Lina shares some helpful advice & info, after seeing misinformation being shared across social media with news of Covid19 positive cases in the community again.
1. South Auckland wasn’t targeted with a fake community case. South Auckland is the epicentre where all the positive cases from travellers set foot in. The New Zealand international airport is in South Auckland. You have people who are quarantined in South Auckland.
2. This isn’t a political strategy. This is a public health strategy. If no one does this then who is responsible? Jacinda did not make these decisions on her own. There’s a team of experts, just like there’s a team that helps decide what the best medical intervention is for your loved one when they’re in hospital.
By Elizabeth Ah-Hi
Three years ago, a provocative story line captivated international audiences when Samoan rugby star, Manu Tuilagi sought the services of a Samoan “witch doctor” to help him recover from a knee injury.
Curious readers gobbled up the bizarre headlines wanting to find out why the England rugby sensation, who has access to state of the art medical facilities and services in the world, would resort to such a “backward practice” and travel half way across the world to the remote Pacific.
The remarkable story raised as many eyebrows as it did questions but more importantly gave mainstream audiences a glimpse into what Samoans (who have been beneficiaries of traditional medicine) have always known - that centuries old knowledge and practices by the Taulasea (traditional Samoan healers) passed on from generation to generation, still play a vital role in Samoan society.…more
By Lefaoali’i Dion Enari
The killing of another Pasifika son Solomone Taufeulungaki in Melbourne was heartbreaking. Although we are confronted with murders on TV every day, this one hit close to home. In this murder we could actually see our cousin, nephew and brother in the victim. Sadder yet, we could also see our own aunties, uncles, mother and father in the scenes of his family mourning at the site.
As Solomone was laid to rest last week, I was made to see the landscape of Pasifika youth in Australia. Looking back at my lived experiences and previous work in the community, I believe most of our youth problems stem from disconnect.
“I am a Samoan – but not a Samoan
To my aiga [family] in Samoa, I am a palagi [foreigner]
I am a New Zealander – but not a New Zealander
To New Zealanders, I am a bloody coconut, at worst,
A Pacific Islander, at best” (Anae, 1998)
Although this poem was written for NZ born Samoans in New Zealand, it also speaks to the Pasifika youth experience in Australia.…more
Guest Writer Louisa Tipene Opetaia shares her experience with managed isolation in Auckland, New Zealand after flying to the US to bring her three children home with her.
Her three Māori/Sāmoan kids live in California with their father but after seeing the rates that Covid-19 have been infecting Americans and the Black Lives Matter protests turning violent Louisa felt that she needed to bring them home. With both her sons only having US passports she was initially denied travel ban exemptions so she flew to Los Angeles to bring them back and applied again - she was finally approved on condition they travel with her.
She describes travelling during a pandemic as a surreal experience with once bustling airports now with limited numbers of flights and passengers. All Duty Free stores were closed and the only dining option at the food court at Los Angeles Airport was Panda Express.
FLYING DURING A PANDEMIC
As always the Air New Zealand staff were gracious and welcoming. They were masked and gloved every time they interacted with us.…more
By Kristian Fanene Schmidt
Our generation of Polynesian people love Black culture. We indulge in it everyday of our lives – from literature to fashion to politics. It’s evident that some of our excellence has been influenced by Black excellence.
Culture is dynamic. It’s complex, it’s fluid and it’s changing. I’ve always been interested in how we, as Polynesian people, are drawn to and engage in Black culture. But does our admiration ever cross the line and become appropriation? Why? Or why not?
As far as art goes, it’s to be expected that artists will look to the greats for inspiration.
We love some R&B, Soul, Hip Hop and Reggae – all created by brilliant Black minds along with Country, Rock, Gospel, Jazz and Blues.
From the beautiful songstress Aaradhna…
… to Nesian Mystik …
… to Katchafire ...…more
By Datia Wilson
It is so weird when the term racism comes to my attention. As I gather my thoughts, I don’t even know where to start. I come from African/Native American, Samoan and Welsh descent. There is nobody I know who hasn’t experienced some sort of racism - including myself.
Growing up my father would try to educate me about slavery, Black history, and some of the struggles they had to experience due to the colour of their skin. Privileges and opportunities that were taken away or fought harder for because their complexion was darker.
My grandfather came 3rd out of 100 applicants for a role at NASA (his dream job) but was passed over because he was black. I also remember a time where my father and I waited for over an hour to be served by a European lady, but there was no line.
This discrimination needs to stop. The thought and the feeling of your worth being inferior to others is not nice at all.…more