Pacific Blog

Jemaima Tiatia appointed top Pacific job at Auckland University

Last week, Associate Professor Tiatia was formally welcomed into the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor Pacific with a Cook Islands turou and Fijian yaqona ceremony.

It was opened by the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori with a mihi whakatau and then a lotu by Dr Therese Lautua.

The following yaqona was led by Fijian community member Malcolm Andrews with student leaders from across Pacific nations taking part.

Tiatia (Taga, Salelologa, Fusi Safata, Siumu, Vaimoso) acted in the role before her apppointment, whilst also co-head of The University of Auckland's School of Māori and Pacific Studies.

Her academic background lies in Pacific health and mental wellbeing.

Her Masters degree looked at why young Pacific peoples were leaving traditional churches; leading her to write the book Caught between Cultures.

Tiatia's PhD examined suicide and mental health and wellbeing in the Samoan community. 

She serves on the board of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission - having previously been on the Suicide Bereavement Service Advisory Group, National Depression Initiative Advisory Group, and Suicide Mortality Review Committee.…more

Pacific Blog

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Responds to School Dance Invite, Surprises PACTS Program Students

The PACTS Program at Parma Senior High School in Ohio hosts an annual spring luau dance for nearly 400 special needs students in the surrounding area.

The Parma High students posted a video invitation to social media to invite Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to their luau. When Johnson got wind of their request, he made sure that the students had a couple special surprises in store for them as they celebrated their big night…

Pacific Blog

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa speaks to the Samoan community of Aotearoa

“People were finding it was a samoa they didn’t want to live in, so what do u do? migrate to NZ or fix it..”

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa spoke to the Samoan community in Auckland this morning on politics, life, her family legacy and why young Pacific women need to be more vocal and engage in all sorts of platforms.

“If there’s anything the constitutes being a matai, an effective matai and a successful one, is that you have to have a lot of patience- onosa’i- this is the word that underpins everything, the word ‘ono’ to swallow it, to have patience. It’s having the capacity to listen and to have a very clear understanding of all the surrounding issues. It requires a bit of detachment so your emotions aren’t too tied up.

The rebuild of Samoa involves every single person, everyone standing up and doing their bit. There’s a difference in approach, a lot of policy revolves around  inferstructure but it doesn’t invite a broader engagement with the general population to lift our economy.…more

Pacific Blog

Laga Savea tribute

Tributes have been flowing in today for Samoan singer, song writer and producer Laga Savea after news of his passing broke.

The video above is from 2018 when Laga performed his cover of Naumati Lagona at Konishiki's Island Music Festival in Odiba Tokyo.

The talented musician and producer grew up in Nanakuli, Hawai'i and collaborated closely with Pacific Islands music legends Fiji, J Boog and a number of Pacific Islands artists around the world.  He was part of the Hot Rain Band which included Kiwini Vaitai and Siaosi and the guys often performed back up vocals for both Fiji and J Boog on tour.

Savea released his own album 'Roots Satisfaction' in 2007 which included a cover of the Five Stars classic 'Naumati Lagona' as well as hit songs 'Take Me Away', 'Nanakuli' and 'Honi Honi' and has been described as a musical genius & icon in the Polynesian community.…more

Pacific Blog

Appreciating Samoan culture

By Angelica S. Eke, California  

There is a realization today that many of our Samoan people scattered across the globe are not fully aware of the ins and outs of Samoan culture. We can blame it on miseducation or even the lack of information; however, one thing holds true and that is that we come from a very rich cultural background.

Many of us do not come to appreciate our culture until we are adults, and this is even more true when one is raised away from our beautiful home, Samoa. This is the story of many who live in other parts of the world and as they reach adulthood, find the missing piece of themselves within our culture; a culture that unites the past, present, and future.

I never appreciated my culture until I became an adult. I remember feeling that being Samoan was a headache because of the many traditions and expectations that we were held accountable for seemed to be more than I could handle.…more

Pacific Blog

Mother's Day 2022: The Moresio Family

Rotuman mother, Marseu Moresio, shares with us the importance of upholding her language and culture in the home. Her husband and boys also share a special message for this Mother's day - check out the video.

Video Credit:  Pasifika Medical Association Group

Pacific Blog

3 Pacific Practices that’ll save the Planet

When people imagine the cure for the climate crisis many would picture white coats in labs creating new formulas to solve the problem or government officials in expensive suits signing lengthy documents. The reality is, the cure is not in a test tube or document, it is in a relationship that needs mending. It’s as simple as healing the relationship between humans and Earth.

Samoans call this relationship a “vā”. A sacred relationship between people and the environment. The land gives and the land also takes. The ocean cares for the village as long as the village cares for the ocean. This concept of connection to nature is also found across all indigenous cultures. In Kenya they call it “Tunza” which is Swahili for “taking care of and guarding”.

Indigenous languages point to the crucial relationship people have with the planet and it informs how different cultural practices honor this. Across the Pacific, villages and communities practice conservation practices that if implemented worldwide could be a part of the solution to combat environmental damage.…more

Pacific Blog

Big sisters speak: strong, reliable, but don’t expect them to be perfect

by Mariner Fagaiava-Muller

It’s funny because a child, babysitting a child? That’s the norm for us,” she said. “It’s an unspoken responsibility.”

For us brown women, we’re told what we have to be, who we have to be, where we can go, what we can do. That has an impact on the boundaries we hold moving forward.”

It’s sacred in how you tautua to your aiga and nu’u around you.”

The world has sung along to Encanto and the life of Luisa Madrigal, and followed the trials of the eldest siblings on Bridgerton - but being the eldest child in a Pacific family comes with its own particular realities and responsibilities. Three Pacific big sisters share their stories.

At almost 22-years-old, Paulina Tapua’i-Soti feels like it’s only now she can begin living out her aspirations - after a teenagehood spent tending to two little brothers.

She’s the second child of her parents, their eldest and only girl. Until the birth of her younger siblings, Paulina enjoyed a spoiled upbringing by extended family.…more

Pacific Blog

Even if all eyes on Chris Rock, climate change continues to rock our world

by Mariner Fagaiava-Muller

In a report released on Tuesday, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) renewed its dire outlook for humanity. But is anyone paying attention? Activist Brianna Fruean offers analysis and reaction.

I sit down with Brianna Fruean, of Sāmoan-Tokelauan heritage, on a brisk Auckland morning. We’re talking about an issue we both know too much about. It’s close to home. Rising sea levels, coral bleaching, increased intensity of natural disasters. This all comes on the tail of warmer temperatures imposed by mankind. “E pala ma’a ‘ae le pala upu - even works may decay but words are everlasting”. Those words were some of many said by Fruean while speaking at COP26 in November, gripening world leaders at a deafening silence. We begin our talanoa with the words used by the IPCC to explain the climate emergency.

Mariner: When you look at IPCC reports generally, the language used to describe the current climate is confronting, but much of the same. So in 2018, it was the ‘doomsday report’. Last year was the ‘code red for humanity’.…more

Pacific Blog

For all our different Samoan Superheroes

By Dahlia Malaeulu 

Our Mase had come home from school a little wired which was nothing new. He completed his after school routine of uniform off, favourite after school clothes on, lunchbox on the bench before pacing around the house until he was ready for the daily recall of his latest obsessions. 

Superheroes were on today’s agenda.

Facts about Spiderman and Optimus Prime came first. I took my usual position on the couch next to him as he re-enacted scenes and lines from his favourite books and films in real time. My job was to listen, answer rhetorical questions and ask many more for Mase to enlighten me with all his superhero wisdom. 

Then out of the blue came a surprising question, ‘Mum, why don’t we have Samoan superheroes?’ I took a moment to search the corridors of my mind for an answer. 

‘We kind of have Samoan superheroes but they were around a really long time ago,’ I replied.…more