Name: Saunima’a Josephine Samuelu
Villages: Falefa, Apia, Papa Sataua.
Profession: Registered Nurse working in Auckland New Zealand.
Where are you currently situated?
Auckland. My job in the COVID-19 Crisis is a COVID-19 Nurse Responder stationed to work at the Community Based Assessment Clinics (CBAC) to test people for COVID-19. I’m part of the team of Alliance Health Plus Nurse Responders to work at the CBAC testing stations across Auckland.
Describe what you do on the daily?
Every nurse is allocated to a CBAC team. There are currently 6 CBAC testing stations across Auckland. I’ve worked at the CBAC Panmure and now stationed at the CBAC Northshore, 3 Akoranga Road. The CBAC Northshore testing station is accessible for people who live in Auckland central, West and Northshore areas.
Before we start our day, we have a team briefing led by the team Operations Coordinator who is a nurse. The briefing involves a prayer, allocated tasks (so that everyone is clear about what they’re doing i.e.…more
By Catherine Tuivaiti
Former Silver Fern Cat (Latu) Tuivaiti is living in lockdown in Italy and writes about what is happening from this country in the eye of the Covid19 storm:
I came to Italy after the birth of my first son, to join my husband Jimmy. Sebastian (or Bash as we call him) was 7 weeks old when we left NZ and we were excited to start a pretty new journey. Me as a first time mum and my husband and I living together after 5 years pursuing our sporting journeys in different countries. Learning to live together was what I thought would be the hardest part.
The coronavirus landed in Italy shortly after we did. The first positive case was January 31st and it has progressed ridiculously fast since then. We were quarantined/shutdown in Feb because we’re so close to Milan (where the breakout happened) they closed most businesses and schools etc. and then when the lockdown was implemented, they closed everything. So before the nationwide lockdown we were already in quarantine for a week or so.…more
By Dahlia Malaeulu
As an important part of everyday life, social development and conversational routine, we have all been raised to greet others. On the surface, greetings are ice breakers, mini introductions and conversation starters that usually sets the tone for the dialogue that follows.
Greetings also have another important layer of meaning.
When we greet each other, we in fact acknowledge and welcome another person’s presence. Our Polynesian greetings carry this same deeper meaning in a very holistic way - where we not only acknowledge others’ existence, their being and spirit, but also openly share parts of ourselves and who we are.
For instance, former governor of American Samoa, the Honourable Togiola Tulafono, explained that Tālofa is short for, 'Si o ta alofa atu,' which means, 'I am happy and delighted to give you my love’.
‘Alofa’ or love is at the core of ‘Tālofa’, which is also the official greeting and welcome of Tuvalu and can be found in the Tokelauan greeting of ‘Talofa ni’ as well as ‘Aloha’ in Hawaii.…more
By Dahlia Malaeulu
This article was originally published in E-Tangata and is republished on Coconet with permission
Dahlia Malaeulu is a Wellington mother and teacher, and the author of Mila’s My Gagana Series, a set of Sāmoan language books for children.
These days, she’s also a proud New Zealand-born Sāmoan, but it wasn’t always so. Despite growing up in a household with Sāmoan-speaking parents who’d been born and bred in Sāmoa, she has spent much of her life struggling with her identity and trying to figure out what being Sāmoan really means.
Here she writes about the long, hard road to becoming Sāmoan.
‘What’s your iwi?’
My first encounter with my cultural identity was around 30 years ago at primary school in Wainuiomata, Wellington. During a lesson about where we came from, one of my teachers asked me: “What’s your iwi?”
I remember going home and asking my mum. She gave me a shocked look, and giggled. Then she told me that I had no iwi and that it was “only for Maoris”.
I retreated to my bedroom, stumped.…more
By Sapati Apa
The walk to the frontline at Ihumatao is a cold and windy one, the air is heavy and I can barely get a proper breath in as I put one gumboot in front of the other. It’s ten minutes past 1:00am, and I’ve volunteered for a frontline shift that starts after midnight, and finishes just as the sun rises at 7.
In all honesty, I don’t want to be here. I’d rather be anywhere else than trekking through the muddy grounds, wearing five jackets and still being unable to feel my toes. I’m not a bush girl.…more
By Fatu Enari
Why should Pacific Islanders learn to speak Maori?
It is such a beautiful culture and it actually has so much in common with our Polynesian countries when you come up from under the christian colonised hangover.
Why did I learn? Tuhoe friends at Waikato Uni inspired me. I could identify with them and so hung out with them, and they were all first language Māori speakers. My lecturers also took me in to their wrap around service in bilingual education as I was missing my own culture and language. The final straw was when I met a beautiful Māori princess from Gizzy ...and my motivation was complete.
The complexity of language acquisition was relatively easy.
I used many Samoan words to fill gaps when doing oral exams - lecturers identified these words as very old words used by their grandparents.…more
By Divisha Deepti
Who Are U?
It’s always hard trying to explain to people who you are. In Oceania I guess everyone struggles with a bit of an identity crisis.
The worst part is having to logically explain it to someone when you’re kind of in the middle of trying to figure it out yourself.
You see, I’m Fijian but I don’t speak Fijian/itaukei because I’m a Fijian of Indian descent. My mother tongue is Hindi but not the Hindi spoken by those in India. I speak a different version of it altogether.
I didn’t think this was a problem in the first place because when you live in FIJI it’s normal to see all different types of people from all over the world and the calamity of having to explain your origins never come up… why? Because people here just know that you’ve probably got mixed blood in you. Fijians of Indian Descent have been living alongside itaukei’s (native Fijians in case you didn’t know) since forever now.…more
By Tovia Va'aelua
Celebrating Samoan Language Week 2019 I New Zealand
Most people who have chosen not to identify with their heritage may often refer back to an incident involving rejection by that people or culture. Like the time when they tried to speak the language of their ancestors in public, only to fail miserably and swearing never to return. Or, the time when Violet (the supermarket checkout lady) found out you were "Samoan" and after a one-way conversation in Samoan (of which you could offer nothing except a blank stare and an awkward smile), she would then complete her Mortal Kombat fatality combo by saying (with an added tone of disappointment) "you should know how to speak your language". Pure, unadulterated, unbridled rejection. And yet, both situations which conjure up these feelings of not belonging (even today), also confirmed that you were very much of Samoan heritage as you seriously considered opening up your carton of eggs and letting them loose on Violet’s forehead.…more
by Rosa F.F, Media Design School student
The old brown woman struggles slightly as she straightens her almost frail frame to a stand. Her dry cracked lips part slightly to send up a quick thank you, seemingly to the air above, as she retrieves the empty disposable coffee cup that lay misplaced on the staffroom floor, carelessly tossed without thought, waiting for someone to do their job.
Soon, she thinks to herself tiredly. Toeitiiti.
Only two more weeks of this hardship and she would be able to finish up her thirty-something years at her tedious cleaning job.
Soon she would be able to collect her pension and finally rest at home without having to worry about being jolted in fear that she had overslept.
Her youngest daughter was finally working to help support their large aiga, particularly with the ever increasing rent and bills, so things would be much different now.…more
The tragedy sparked an outpouring of grief, love & unity with an historic unity walk attended by rival gangs within the area over the weekend. Amongst those who paid their respects were members of the Tongan community from Inglewood as well as Polynesians from South central, Long Beach, Watts, Hawthorne & from all over L.A.
Renei Ngaue Fangupo shares how and why they chose to give back to those showing support & love.
By Renei Ngaue Fangupo
"I put our flag out there on Tuesday showing love & respect from everyone but mostly the Tongans in LA because most of us knew Nipsey before he became famous. He used to perform with some of my family and that started the bond between us Tongans & the late NIP.…more