By guest writer Datia Wilson
It has been just under two years since I have returned to Savaii, to take care of my grandmother who has advanced dementia. Although raised in Savaii as a child with my brother and understanding aspects of Faasamoa, I had come over from NZ with an overseas mentality.
I had lived such an independent life in NZ, I remember thinking on our return I could still wear what I want, go out at whatever time and not really caring about others opinions. Oh boy, was I wrong! It only took a couple of firm conversations with my uncle (chief of our family) explaining how crucial it is I understand that I am now living in the village still upholding their traditional ways. With that comes the responsibility of being the face of the family and carrying the family’s reputation.…more
We are Benson Wilson and Isabella Moore. Two Kiwi Sāmoan opera singers living and working in London. Our love story is rather unique, in that it began only months before the coronavirus world pandemic hit. It created hurdles couples in the early stages of a relationship would never normally have to endure, but our shared culture, history, passion for music, and values carried us through and made us stronger than ever. And this is our story of how we found love in the age of COVID.
Aotearoa has a strong choir culture and it was in the NZ Secondary Students Choir that we first met as high schoolers where we became fast friends. From that day on we were both on similar operatic paths, but were on them separately or ‘just mates’ (haha!).…more
By FotuoSamoa Jody Jackson
As Aotearoa commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, I asked some of the Pacific people in my life, in private and on social media about what their thoughts were on the connections of Te Tiriti and Moana people. There was unanimous support and agreement that this is significant, and that we should be interested and taking the time to learn more about it.
The question was, What is Waitangi to you as a Pacific person and why should we care?
From Vaasiliifiti Simon in Christchurch:
“Why should we NOT care? The same challenges happened to us as indigenous people in the past. We were faced with colonisation and it threatened our sovereignty and rights to our land. The Mau o Pule resistance in Savaii Samoa and the movement was born out of it was by the people. So for me, it’s not just a Maori story, it’s a Polynesian story but it’s also a universal story and we must support our brothers and sisters in Aotearoa”.…more
By Lefaoali'i Dion Enari
As Samoans residing outside of the (Mother) land, one of the ways we connect to her is through Siva. Our beautiful Siva Samoa can be found anywhere our people are. It can be seen as far as Germany and as close as the Mangere town centre. Siva can be competitively performed on the Samoan stage at Polyfest or danced during impromptu family gatherings. As a people, we have used this art form in times of celebration, meditation and mourning. The international status of Siva Samoa means not only has it been kept alive among our people, but is also showcased to many non-Samoans globally. The box office hit Hobbs and Shaw, staring Seiuli Dwayne the Rock Johnson is one of many examples of Siva Samoa on display for mainstream society.
What is Siva Samoa?
For me, it is an extension of Samoan lyrics, using body movement to further enhance and tell the story of the song being sung.…more
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