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
Guest writer: TVNZ's Te Karere Reporter, Te Rina Kowhai
DC's latest superhero movie 'Aquaman' has smashed NZ's box office record with the highest Boxing Day opening movie of all time. And it’s with no surprise here, with Aotearoa being the Polynesian hub in the world. However the film is not only making waves in Aotearoa but the world is also embracing the first-ever Polynesian superhero.
Forbes listing that the movie has topped US $1 billion worldwide, becoming Warner Bros. biggest global grosser to date.
And we can thank leading man, Hawai’i born actor Jason Momoa, for taking up the role and embodying the DC character, Arthur Curry a.k.a Aquaman whose original adaptation is a blonde haired, fair, white-skinned Caucasian man. Now portrayed as a brown skinned 6 ft 4, the half breed, part Atlantean and part human is now also of Polynesian descent.…more
By Liz Ah-Hi
Cover photo credit: Nadya Va'a
The Palolo moon made me do it.
At 2.30am this morning I woke up with an unusual amount of alertness considering I had only accepted a random invitation just a few hours earlier from my neighbour to go ‘ka palolo’ in Lefaga.
It was the moment I had been waiting for and weeks of dropping hints into social conversations had finally paid off at the eleventh hour bearing in mind there was only days left of the palolo rising.
Though my Dad dispels it, I could have sworn I had a childhood memory of waking up to a dark but moonlit beach in Asau filled with shadow people carrying torches, hunting for palolo in silence. Whether it was just a dream or an actual event that took place, I was looking forward to having a new experience.…more
By Michael Field
Attended the launching of Tatau: A History of Sāmoan Tattooing, at the Fale Pasifika at Auckland University. Te Papa Press have produced a remarkable work which must surely be in line for a major book award.
It is more the likely going to be the only major cultural study of Sāmoan tattooing for generations - an important fact to consider when faced with British Museum hostility toward the project.
What was sad came in the seminar at the launching conducted by authors Sean Mallon and Sébastien Galliot.
Mallon discussed the various influences that were affecting the design of tatau. I was interested in his comment that the Mau had little effect on design and that so far as the authors could tell , the Mau had focused on song and its uniform, rather than on tattoo.
He said the US occupation of New Zealand Sāmoa did have a striking impact. To prove it he showed a page from their book which showed a line drawing of a male tattoo featuring an obvious American eagle.…more
By Brianna Fruean
Last month I received a package in the mail. I opened it and was extremely excited to see that it was a “Rise for Pacific Pawa” tshirt. #RiseForClimate and #PacificPawa is a Climate campaign that I’m so proud to be apart of! It is a campaign pushing for our local communities to rise up and truly be the change.
It is no secret that Climate Change is real and that now more than ever we need to take action. I will admit it’s easy to be discouraged when thinking about climate change. In the face of intense heat waves, roaring wildfires, frequent cyclones and rising sea levels it’s easy to lose hope… but this is exactly when WE SHOULD RISE! Now is time we should come together and make a change. This is why, this week people everywhere are campaigning to ‘Rise for Climate”. On the 8th of September in cities, town squares, capital buildings and islands around the world, people rose up to demand that politicians stand with their communities and deliver more than just words.…more