Guest Writer

Pasifika Youth Violence in Australia - How do we move forward?

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

Kia Ora Aotearoa!

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


Guest Writer

The Cookout

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?

Appreciation

As far as art goes, it’s to be expected that artists will look to the greats for inspiration.

Music

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


Guest Writer

Racism from the view of a young teine uli - half Samoan half black American living in Savai’i

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


Guest Writer

OPINION: Pasifika NRL (mis)pronunciation – don’t (dis)respect my name

By Lefaoali’i Dion Enari

Channel 9’s rugby league personality Erin Molan’s recent ‘hooka looka mooka’ comments when referring to Pasifika rugby league players was nothing short of racism.

To purposefully (mis)pronounce (with an accent) Pasifika names is not only poor taste, but mirrors how much race relations work that still needs to be done. 

Although Pasifika people’s presence and cultures are interwoven in the Australian fabric, we still face many race issues.

What is concerning is people like her continue to portray us to mainstream society as exotic savages, brown entertainers and primitive immigrants. 

This is not the first racial incident involving Pasifika people in Australian rugby league, as former Pasifika players have spoken out on the racial vilification they received both on and off the field (Lakisa, 2019). 

The Australian government has a well-documented history of prejudice against Pasifika people. The White Australia Policy discouraged migration from the islands between 1901-1973 (Lee, 2009). Upon arrival many were labelled unqualified, unexperienced and only able to work as unskilled labour (Vasta, 2004).…more


Guest Writer

Samoan Language is needed in Australia

By Lefaoali’i Dion Enari

Despite Australia being the new land of milk and honey for Samoan and Pasifika people, we face challenges of language survival and sustainability. My love for the Samoan language and anger for its exclusion from the school system was the reason I decided to do a PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy) on Samoan cultural and language practises in Australia.

Growing up in Brisbane I would see many Samoan and Pasifika people financially doing well. However, as the influx of our people grew, so did the importance of our Samoan language and culture. Since I was a child, I was angry at the fact that Japanese and German were taught at school, instead of indigenous aboriginal and Samoan languages. My frustration was driven by the fact aboriginals are tangata whenua to Australia and majority of the students at my school were Samoan.

I had always loved the Samoan language, as everything sounded more reverend, poetic and sophisticated. Not to mention, it was cool and a way we could communicate in public without anyone knowing what we were saying.…more


Guest Writer

Root crop planting programme a 'God Send' for Aitutaki during the Covid19 lockdown

By Florence Syme-Buchanan 

A root crop planting programme in Aitutaki started ten months ago by Amuri/Ureia MP Terepai Maoate is providing staples for the entire island that’s been in lockdown since March.

Originally the planting was to produce enough root crops for the 2021 bicentennial celebrations of the arrival of Christianity to the island.

“With what has happened the world over and the island in indefinite lockdown, no revenue from tourism for an unknown time, the plantations have proven a God-send for our island at this time,” says Maoate.

There have been two more planting phases since the first taro, tarua, kumara and maniota were planted almost a year ago and privately funded by Maoate – the most recent just before Aitutaki and the rest of the Pa Enua went into lockdown. Harvesting of the first crop started earlier this year.…more


Guest Writer

SAMOA: Not Closed Today!

By Molilaauifoga’a Seanoa

Schools are shut, most shops are closed, and smoke from the umu wafts over our village. No, it’s not a typical Sunday in Samoa. It’s a a typical Tuesday on the first week of the State of Emergency Lockdown. That was 6 weeks ago. SOE rules have relaxed a little since then, but as a mum of 5 young children—taking care of an extended family household of 10 people—I’m not taking any unnecessary risks.

Today our country’s borders remain shut. Schools are still closed. Markets and shops have restricted opening hours and outside of our bubbles, we cannot congregate in groups of more than five people. That means no mass gatherings which is difficult when you consider that we are largely a church-going nation. On a normal Sunday—pre-lockdown—our household would wake up before the crack of dawn to attend morning mass. Now, we worship from home and only go to church to receive Holy Communion—our parish allowing one family bubble at a time to enter. God is not closed today!

My daughters love dressing up.…more


Guest Writer

ʻO le Tala o le Māfua'aga o le Tuiga' - The Origin Story of the Tuiga

By Jake Fitisemanu Jnr.

There was once a taupou named Vītaliutaolepaepae(1), the daughter of orator chief ‘Ulu(2) who lived in Puipa‘a village, Faleata district, ‘Upolu island. Vī was renowned throughout the islands for her beauty -- especially her wavy, brown hair -- of which she was extremely proud and boastful. Her pretty friends (also the daughters of chiefs) were just as conceited and self-centered, and they relentlessly teased all the other girls in the village. 

After years of hearing the villagers complain about his daughterʻs bullying, chief ʻUlu had had enough of her childish ways. He told Vī that it was time to grow up, and that she had one year(3) to choose a husband to settle down with. Vī hoped that if she made the selection criteria stringent enough, that no man would be eligible, and she could stay single and carefree forever(4).…more


Guest Writer

PASIFIKA NURSE ON THE FRONTLINE - COVID19 TESTING

Name:  Saunima’a  Josephine Samuelu

Villages:  Falefa, Apia, Papa Sataua.

Profession:  Registered Nurse working in Auckland New Zealand.

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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.

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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