SEILALA OLIANA NOANEILANI TOFU  Upcoming artist & actress  Samoan  - Hi, my name is Seilala Oliana Noaneilani Tofu. I was born in California. Orange county, Santa Ana. I currently reside in St. George, Utah. I am Samoan and an upcoming music artist/performer and actress. I love performing musical theatre/Broadway shows, singing, acting and staying busy. {{28778}} How old are you and how long have you been performing?  I just turned 9 years old on June 12, and I have been performing since I was 5 years old. I started dancing with my Aunty Malia Tafua's group.  - Where did your love of performing come from?  My love of performing came from both sides of my family!  My Dad was a dancer and my Grandma Mafuli Sua was a singer. When I was about 2 years old I would sing and perform around my Grandpa Afereti Tanielu's home. He would clap for me and tell me to keep singing & that one day I would be the next superstar. (Love and miss my Grandpa Tanielu who passed when I was 3 years old.) {{28774}} You currently won the crown for the All American girl Utah Talent Pageant - tell us about that experience and what you performed to get you the win?  My mom actually signed up my sister & I in the Utah Pageant last minute. We have never been in a pageant or to a pageant before and so we were a bit nervous, but my mom assured us we would do great!  We didn't have any pageant dresses so we wore our Sunday best dress.  I performed a song from a Disney movie, Anastasia. The song is called "Once upon a December!" This experience was amazing! I was so excited when they announced my name. I didn't think I could win, but I will never forget this beautiful moment shared with my mom and sister.  {{28776}} You're in a Polynesian dance group too - what is your favourite routine and why?  Yes I am a part of a Polynesian dance group based in St. George, Utah. It is called Te Fano O Te Ra. My Aunty Malia Tafua is my instructor and she is very passionate & dedicated with teaching her students.  My favorite is learning all the different island culture dancing.  I first learned tahitian dancing and started competing in Hura Tahiti events.  {{28771}} Who inspires you and why?  My family inspires me! My parents for working so hard for all of my siblings and I!  Also my Grandpa Tanielu for believing in me.  - What goals do you have for the future? One of my goals is to work hard and become a music artist and to be on a Disney movie. Also, to travel the world with my family.  {{28780}}

  • Samoans Try Tongan Food - Jess & Ayva

    Samoans Try Tongan Food - Jess & Ayva

    The girls are joined by Samoan family the Drams Fam from Melbourne, Victoria and are tasked with trying Tongan food!  

  • COCO KIDS GAMES - String Games

    COCO KIDS GAMES - String Games

    Our games master Nua Finau shows our kids how to play traditional games the old school way, the island way like our parents and grand parents played them back in the day. Today they learn that on days where there's nothing to do - you don't have to head straight to the TV or to Playstation.  You can occupy yourself with just a piece of string or wool!  



    Learn these Tongan language Numbers, Phrases, Colours, Words and prayers.



    LESLI VALU FALEFEHI  Boxer & Student  Tongan/Samoan  My name is Lesli Valu Falefehi.  I was born in Brisbane, Australia.  My Pacific heritage is Tongan/Samoan. My mother is full Tongan and my father Tongan/Samoan.  I am now in year 2 at Woodridge State primary, Brisbane. I am the eldest out of 5 kids, I have 3 sisters and 1 brother. I love art, music and mostly boxing. {{12051}} How old are you and how long have you been boxing?  I am 6 years old and I started boxing at the age of 3. {{12053}} Where did your love of boxing come from?  My father is a pro-boxer, he took me to his fight one night and I loved it.  I asked my Dad to teach me how to box, so from there my passion for boxing grew so did my skills and strength.  I love it because it gives me skills to self defend myself from stranger danger.  {{12056}} Do you have any female boxers that you look up to or fighters in general that you think are inspiring?    Not really, my inspiration to keep going is my father.  I watch some girls fight but I look up to my Dad.  I train every day for 20 minutes with my Dad, brother and sister.  We do exercise to keep us healthy and fit. {{12060}} Have you entered any boxing competitions? No because where I stay boxing age starts at 11, so I am too young.  I just train at home with Dad. {{12058}} Do you think you'll stick with Boxing or would you like to get into Kick Boxing and MMA as well?   Yes I love boxing, I'm not sure about kick boxing and MMA, maybe when I am a bit older. {{12055}} What goals do you have for the future.  When I am older I would like to be a boxer and represent my country also where my parents come from. I also love music, art and makeup.  {{12062}}

  • Jess & Ayva Try Niuean Food!

    Jess & Ayva Try Niuean Food!

    Jess and Ayva give us their honest opinion on some of our favourite Niuean Delicacies

  • Pasifika Patterns - learning to draw patterns of the Pacific

    Pasifika Patterns - learning to draw patterns of the Pacific

    Artist Tyla Vaeau (@tylatatau) and her assistant Phyllis shows us how to draw some Pacific patterns commonly seen in Samoan tatau and other art forms across the Pacific. Follow along with the girls here - great activity for the kids if they're needing a break from their homework!  Tag both us @Thecoconettv and Tyla in your IG stories so we can reshare 



    Young Taika Rasmussen brings us breaking news while he's in lockdown with his family & fave teddy Sparkles.



    Some Easter activities for our children!  Print these out and let your kids creativity loose. Easter fuamoa by Tyla Vaeau. Tyla Vaeau is a tatau practitioner, artist, researcher and mama based in Auckland. She has been tattooing, researching and working with Pasifika mamanu/designs for over a decade. She says "These fuamoa were created for our tamaiti to give a bit of Pasifika flavour to our Easter celebrations. Enjoy!" {{17459}} Also check out 'The Lockdown Activity Book' created by Micahlei Timo, a 10 year old Sāmoan/ Solomon Islands student from Hillview Christian school in Christchurch. The Pasefika Trustees Netword commissioned her to design the activity book through the support of the Talanoa Ako Programme, from the Ministry of Education.  We know you'll enjoy the various activities, just download from the link below -  bit.ly/PTNactivitybook {{17461}}

  • Concern for the health of his people lands Samoan boy on Weet Bix Box

    Concern for the health of his people lands Samoan boy on Weet Bix Box

    11-year-old Christian Sagote of Melbourne, Australia is a Weet-Bix TRYathlon star. The energetic youngster whose family originates from the village of Leauva'a, is one of eight children in Australia chosen to feature on the Weet-Bix box. Participation in previous tryathlons was a prerequisite for the exciting accolade but it was his interview with the Weet-Bix marketing team that impressed them the most. "I want to encourage more of our Samoan and Pacific kids especially to enter the tryathlon because it's fun and it's important to be active," he said. "Our people have high rates of diabetes and obesity issues so it's important to have a healthy mindset early when you're a kid." {{16166}} Last year Samoa was listed sixth in the top 10 obese countries of the world according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The child obesity statistics are alarming and at least 20 percent of children between 5-19 years are obese. In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health also reported last year that Pacific Island children made up the largest group (28.4 percent) of obese children in the country. Children living in social economically deprived areas were more likely to be obese as children living in the least deprived. A lack of education around nutrition and physical activity were also contributing factors. {{16168}} Christian says that the irony of these numbers is that Samoans are also strong and athletic people too and boast some of the world's biggest sporting icons. "It doesn't have to be like this. We can all achieve anything when we put our mind to it. “The best part of the tryathlon for me was crossing that finish line. My mum says it's always important to 'finish' things in life, even when it gets hard." Sanitarium marketing brand manager Tyler Van der Veer says that Christian's desire to make a difference in his community is what struck a chord with Weet-Bix. "Christian realised how much of a positive impact his actions could have on his community," he explained. "He used his experience at the Weet-Bix kids tryathlon to help encourage so many others like him to live an active, confident and healthy lifestyle." {{16170}} Van der Veer adds that for 22 years, the Sanitarium Weet-Bix kids tryathlon has been passionate about encouraging every kid to give it a go and that over the years the tryathlon has attracted more ethnic groups. "We have seen a huge increase in the diversity of kids attending the tryathlon, something we are very pleased about. Celebration of diversity has always been deeply ingrained in our event and this diversity grows each year." Christian who is raised by his solo mother Lia Sagote, moved with his Mum to Melbourne in 2015 from West Auckland New Zealand in search of a better life. And they haven't looked back. Christian also excels in soccer and basketball playing for elite Melbourne clubs. He enjoys school, computer coding, building apps and hanging out with his friends. {{16174}} He will participate in his third Weet-Bix tryathlon in March and says that this year's event will be even more special as he won't be doing it by himself anymore after helping to register 10 of his cousins for the event. He is proud to be a Samoan Boy featured on a Weet-Bix cereal box in Australasia. The Weet-Bix boxes will be distributed from January to April in Australia and the Pacific Islands including Samoa. {{16172}}

  • HAIR LOVE by Matthew A Cherry

    HAIR LOVE by Matthew A Cherry

    Hair Love, an animated short film from Matthew A. Cherry, tells the heartfelt story of an African American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.



    Our lil buddies Jess & Ayva share their Samoan Christmas experience through song...

  • COCO KIDS GAMES - How to play Haka Moa

    COCO KIDS GAMES - How to play Haka Moa

    Our games master Nua Finau shows our kids how to play traditional games the old school way, the island way like our parents and grand parents played them back in the day. Today they learn a game from the islands of Hawai'i called Haka Moa which their warriors used to play to get them battle ready.



    Jess & Ayva get to experience the differences between a Samoan family Christmas & a Palagi family Christmas.

  • ASB Good as Gold: 8 Year old Maiyah Martin

    ASB Good as Gold: 8 Year old Maiyah Martin

    Young Samoan Maiyah Martin is using her baking skills to make a huge difference in her community. Maiyah has been recognised by the ASB who have named her as an ASB Good as Gold recipient. The bank has given her a Kenwood Chef XL mixer, $4000 to use in her baking project (she calls it Girl with Cakes) and $6000 for her, her mum and five-year-old brother Malaefou to have a holiday together. Her mother Donna Lavea-Martin says it started when she was trying to think of something for her to do in the holidays and she suggested making cupcakes & selling them.   "I asked her what she wanted to spend the money on and without thinking she said she wanted to help the homeless. That was amazing – I didn't know she knew what homeless meant." "I'm a single mum and don't have a lot to give, but what Maiyah is doing is quite special." Donna says



    SEV'N SIENI-LINA FALETOI  STUDENT / MODEL / FILM CRITIC JNR REPORTER  SAMOAN & TOKELAUAN . My name is Sev’n Sieni-Lina Faletoi. I am 9 1/2 years old.  Fun fact about me, I am the 7th child out of 8 (hence my name). I was born in Santa Ana, California but I grew up in Garden Grove/Anaheim area. My ethnicity is Samoan & Tokelau. {{14311}} About a year ago I was interested in modeling. My Mom found a couple of modelling gigs for me. Not too long after, I decided to give acting a shot & took some acting classes. A friend referred me to a program for kid Junior reporters. Here I am today doing some modeling, signed with two talent agencies for commercial & print work, & am a film critic/jr reporter. Some things that I like to do aside from acting, modeling, & interviewing is hanging out with my family, playing sports l, & dancing with my samoan dance group Samoa Matalasi. {{14309}} You're a junior reporter on the red carpet in California! How did you get into doing that? A really good friend of mine suggested I try out being a film critic/jr reporter.  At first I was a little hesitant being that I never spoke publicly or in a crowd setting.  I mustered up the courage and decided to do it. It took a lot of nerves and courage lol my friend Nathalia and her mom Connie were huge mentors for me and still are. {{14313}} Who has been your favourite interviewee and why? I would have to say was Jim Cummings, he plays the voice of Winnie the Pooh. I love watching Winnie the Pooh and during my interview with Jim he would start talking like Winnie. It was great to finally meet the voice of Winnie the Pooh.  (video above)  {{14322}} Who would be one person on your wish list to interview and why? One person I would love to interview would be Cole Sprouse because he’s really cute and I love his role on Riverdale. I am a HUGE fan of the entire cast. What do you love about being a Pacific Islander? I love being a Pacific Islander because I love big families. I come from a huge family both on my Mom and Dads sides. I love the food, culture, dancing & overall we are family oriented. {{14320}} Who is your biggest inspiration? My biggest inspiration is God & my grandma Sieni (my namesake). I was raised to always put God first in everything I do. With God all things are possible. My grandma was a huge part of my life. She was my biggest supporter & cheerleader. She was always there for me when I needed her & she spoiled me Like crazy. My grandma passed away June 10, 2018 & is now cheering for me in heaven. {{14315}} What goals do you have for the future? My goals in the future are to take care of my parents & siblings. I want to be a mentor to those in need. I want to own a farm with lots of animals so that I can invite all my cousins over {{14318}}



    MORGAN TENISELI CARMICHAEL  SAMOAN / MAORI / ENGLISH MMA / GYMNASTICS / MODELLING & ACTING  . My name is Morgan Teniseli Carmichael I was born in Joondalup WA, raised in Auckland and I have been in Melbourne for 5 years now. My background is English/Maori/Samoan. My mum and my grandmother are NZ born Samoan, I get my Samoan side from my great grandmother Nola Malae Teniseli who was born in Fagaloa and raised in Aleisa. I train in MMA, particularly in kickboxing, I also do Jiu Jitsu, gymnastics, modelling and acting. {{13820}} How old are you and how long have you been Kickboxing?  Iʼm 8 years old, I have been training in kickboxing for 4.5 years. . Where did your love of kickboxing/fighting come from?  My family and I are big fans of MMA it was my dad who first took me to the gym to try it out and I have loved it ever since, and my older brother is an amateur boxer. My family always encourage us to do what we love, and support us in everything we want to do.  {{13827}} You do gymnastics too!  Can you tell us what you love about gymnastics - do you have a favourite routine?  I love doing handstands, cartwheels and the bars. My favourite routine is bar routine because itʼs fun to swing around and perform on the bars. I really love doing competitions and winning ribbons and medals. {{13817}} You also model part time - do you have any favourite fashion looks?  Yes, I have been modelling since I was 2 years old, I started in NZ and still do it now and I love it, I have also started acting. I love dresses and matching them with different shoes, boots and accessories. I always try to style a casual look with jeans and layer my tops to match and I also love to tie jackets around my waist. {{13832}} Do you have any female sports people or amazing women that you look up to and why?  My mum is the best, she inspires me to be a strong independent young female and always encourages me to be the best human I can be. I love all women in sports, especially Amanda Nunes and the William sisters. I always encourage my friends to play sports.  {{13838}} What goals do you have for the future?  I really want to go to the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Hopefully I will make it to the UFC too. I have lots of goals to help me get there, at the moment I’m training more and harder to get ready for my very first fight. I want to compete in gymnastics when I am older. Mum tells me that I can be whatever I want, other than sports and fashion I would love to continue helping animals. I want to inspire others to be the best they can be and do everything they love. Most of all I hope to help change the world to make it better.  {{13833}}

  • COCO KIDS - Tongan kids learn how similar the Samoan language is

    COCO KIDS - Tongan kids learn how similar the Samoan language is

    These children in Vava'u learn how similar the Samoan language is to Tongan!  Learn both the Samoan and Tongan phrases here.

  • COCO KIDS GAMES - How to play Ulu Maika

    COCO KIDS GAMES - How to play Ulu Maika

    Our games master Nua Finau shows our kids how to play traditional games the old school way, the island way like our parents and grand parents played them back in the day. Today they learn a game from Hawai'i called Ulu Maika which was an ancient Hawaiian sport with some similarities to bowling.  Hawaiians used to play this with breadfruit or Ulu.   In recent times it's been played as a Luau party game.

  • Coco Kids World - Yosina Roemajauw

    Coco Kids World - Yosina Roemajauw

    We catch up with Yosina Roemajauw at the Nickelodeon Festival in Europe. The 11 yr old recently won 'The Voice - Kids' in the Netherlands and talks about her West Papuan heritage, visiting West Papua & wanting to help children there.

  • COCO KIDS GAMES - How to play Poi Rakau

    COCO KIDS GAMES - How to play Poi Rakau

    Our games master Nua Finau shows our kids how to play traditional games the old school way, the island way like our parents and grand parents played them back in the day. Today they learn a game from Aotearoa called Poi Rakau which was a training game for Maori warriors to improve Hand/Eye coordination.

  • MY WORLD - General Fiyah

    MY WORLD - General Fiyah

    Like us on Facebook Subscribe to our YouTube General Fiyah shares his world with us ...

  • Julian Dennison My World

    Julian Dennison My World

    Julian Dennison of Hunt for the Wilder people shares why he's so FRESH! Giving us a little insight on what it was like to work on set with some of the Greats.

  • DAWN RAID - A book review by Kaiata Kaitao

    DAWN RAID - A book review by Kaiata Kaitao

    Dawn Raid By Pauline Vaeluaga Smith The book “ Dawn Raid” is the story of a young Samoan girl named Sofia. At the beginning of the book, Sofia’s biggest problems are how she can afford go - go boots, or how to write her speech. But as the book progresses, it shows a great representation of the Pacific people’s point of view during the Dawn Raids. {{9474}} The story is written as the diary of an 11 year old Sofia Savea, as she talks about the first Mcdonald's in New Zealand opening in her hometown ( cheeseburgers were only 33c!) and how her little brother wound up in hospital AGAIN! She also writes about the groovy white go - go boots that she wants and how she will recite a speech in front of her ENTIRE school! Although these problems seem big now, they are nothing compared to what’s coming. {{9472}} Then, as if Sofia’s life was thrown in a hurricane, all of her personal problems  are being mixed up, and she finds out that kids like her are being sent to places they never knew of. She meets the Polynesian Panthers and finds out that they’re not a gang, but instead a family of tight knit individuals, fighting for what’s right. But one morning, after an amazing night with her family, all the bad things she has heard about suddenly happen to her. That’s right, Sofia has been Dawn Raided. How will she continue after this incident? {{9470}} Dawn Raid is an amazing book. It highlights the struggle of Pacific people during that time and the way the book is written, it makes you feel like you are in 1971, experiencing these events with her. I highly recommend that you read it, as it may change the way you see NZ history.



    14 year old Kalib Strickland aka DJ K-Swizz is a battle DJ and is the youngest DJ to ever win the technical category of the IDA DJ World Champsionships. Check out how he got into DJing here ... - 5 years after this video was filmed he has gone on to win The 2022 DMC World DJ Championships / Technics World Champion title. Check out his winning set in the video below -  {{31286}}



    Quinton Schoffield shows us the 3 freshest things to do on his home island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands 



    9 year old Mali Gaoa shows us his favourite things to see & do on the Big Island of Samoa - Savai'i!

  • How to Greet in Samoan

    How to Greet in Samoan

    Laki and Lani Learns how to Greet in the Samoan Language.

  • Moana Premiere in Samoa with Auli'i Cravalho

    Moana Premiere in Samoa with Auli'i Cravalho

    Our Coco Samoa crew caught up with the star of Moana - Auli'i Cravalho - & got feedback from the streets of Samoa on what they did, and in one case didn't like about the movie!

  • WEST MEETS SOUTH by Losalia Malika Pusiaki

    WEST MEETS SOUTH by Losalia Malika Pusiaki

    The closing performance of the Pacific Dance Festival 'Wahine Toa' collection was "West Meets South" by Losalia Milika Pusiaki West meets South is the acceptance of two worlds by mother and daughter, told in a form of a love story, where Tatuila, a chief from the South meets a beautiful princess from the West. His journey is depicted by Me’etupaki, faha’iula, tau’olunga and Takafalu (Queen Salotes Lakalaka) This piece shows the childrens dance.   Dancers: Tu'itupou Sili, Malia Pusiaki, 'Atu Vaiangina, Kelela Vaiangina, Chanelle Vaiangina,  Kerry 'Aluesi, Sinai Na'a, Tina Lo'aamanu, Saane Soafa, Jasmine Makahununiu, Peni Pepa, Mikey Manu, Jo Mana, Vili Pusiaki, Sefo Na'a, Soana Falahola 'aleva (contemporary dance choreographer), Milika & Siale (Tongan Traditional dance choreographers)

  • Children of the Islands - Serenity Grace Nielsen

    Children of the Islands - Serenity Grace Nielsen

    Serenity Grace Nielsen  Student/Country Singer  Samoan  . Serenity Grace Nielsen recently won both the Junior Vocal solo and overall Junior Gold Guitar title at the New Zealand Gold Guitar awards. Her Dad William Nielsen who had encouraged her into country music died last year and she dedicated her songs to him when she played. She shares her story with us here ... How old are you and how long have you been singing & performing? My name is Serenity Grace Nielsen and I’m 12 years old. I have been singing since I was five but didn’t compete in a competition until I was 8 years old at the NZ Gold Guitar Awards (2014). I was lucky enough to make it into the finals performing the song "Grandpa" by The Judds. In 2015 I qualified for the finals with my Country Rock song called 'We're from the Country' by Tracy Byrd and in 2016 I received three highly commended selections in the Junior Solo, Junior Duet and Junior Gospel sections. This year was my most successful year at the NZ Gold Guitar Awards, I was awarded 1st in Vocal Solo with 'The House That Built Me' by Miranda Lambert and received the Junior Overall Award based on my vocal solo performance. . Last year I decided to try other competitions and entered the Central Coast Country Music Awards in Oamaru. I received 3rd in Country Rock, 2nd in Variety and Junior Overall Runner up. I then decided to enter the Big River Talent Quest in Clutha, and it was here that I came 2nd in Country Rock, Vocal Solo, Gospel and Junior/Intermediate 50's & 60's with a very highly commended in Novice. . This year I entered the Southern Alps Country Music Awards in Timaru and was successful in taking 1st in Vocal Solo, 1st in Gospel and 2nd in Country Rock. I also received the grand prize which was the Junior Overall award, and I must say the competition was very tough. . My family and I then travelled to Auckland to compete in the Auckland Country Music Awards and received 1st in Gospel and Country Rock and 2nd in Vocal Solo. I also received the Junior Overall award for the competition which qualified me to enter the NZ Entertainer of the Year Awards to be held in Rotorua on 14th October 2017.  This prestigious event is held once a year and is recognised as the place to be as a country music singer, it is held by the NZ Country Music Association Incorporated. . Do you play the guitar? I have been saving for a guitar over the last 2 years but this year I was blessed with two guitars from singing competitions (Gold Guitars & Southern Alps Country Music Awards 2017) and I'm now learning how to play guitar.   . What is your Pacific Island Heritage? I am of Samoan descent and my family lineage stems from the Lima Osasa line (grandfather) and the Kisona line (grandmother) . Where did you get your love of country music from? My Dad played a strong role in my love for country. He loved the christian component of the genre and encouraged me to sing whenever I got the opportunity. When he passed away in April last year my passion for country music didn’t fade it just grew stronger. . Do you have any favourite country singers or songs that you like to perform? I love country songs that tell stories and have catchy tunes because they’re the songs that capture the audience’s attention I particularly enjoy singing gospel songs because I am able to sing songs of praise. I sing in my church youth band and my hope is to one day be a worship leader at Hillsong . Was the song you sang in the competition a special song for you? Definitely because the song that I sang Miranda (the artist that wrote the song) sings about being broken inside while she went through a tough time in her life. She returns home to the innocence of her childhood to remember happier times. For me it took me back to a time where I remembered all the good times with my dad. How did you feel on the night competing and then finding out you won? While I was performing in the finals I was determined to win at least one section. Waiting for the results was the worst part but when they called my name out for winning Vocal solo I was over the moon and I was happy with just that. But the icing on the cake was when I took out junior overall. . It must have been special for you to have won the competition after dedicating your performance to your Dad - how did your Mum & siblings feel? Mum - I was elated and filled with joy and I reflected on the memories of my husband and I.  As a parent it was worth all the tears, heartache, practises and financial strain to see Serenity receive the award. Siblings - Shocked... just shocked that she finally made it. . Do you plan to enter more competitions? I'm entering the New Zealand Entertainer of the Year in Rotorua this October and am also performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

  • Samoan Body Parts, People & Clothes

    Samoan Body Parts, People & Clothes

    Learn the Samoan names for body parts, people and clothes! 

  • Kids react to MAUI in Disney's Moana

    Kids react to MAUI in Disney's Moana

  • 12 year old Samoan student launches ‘The Voice of an Island’ on world stage

    12 year old Samoan student launches ‘The Voice of an Island’ on world stage

    Twelve-year-old Samoan student Lupeoaunu’u Va’ai won a Gold Medal award for her story ‘The Voice of an Island’ in the Voices of Future Generations Children’s Story Writing Competition last year. This week, she is in London for the launch of her book, and as a Voices of Future Generations Child Author, she has committed to turning her book into a series, writing one story each year until 2020. It’s not every day that an aspiring author can say they have a published book and will be writing a series for the next five years, and for Miss Lupeoaunu’u Va’ai, a 12-year-old from Vaoala, Samoa this is a dream come true. “I am so happy; I never ever thought that something like this would happen to me,” said Lupeoaunu’u. She was 11 when she entered in the 2015 competition, which called for stories from child authors from across the globe, winning a Gold Medal Award for her story centred on a young girl named Katalina. The book cover as illustrated by Karen Webb Meek The Voices of Future Generations Children’s Book Series is created in partnership with the United Nations and aims to share different voices from children around the world on the challenges they think they will face in the future, and the solutions they feel are within their reach.  This is in line with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement in a way that realises the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Lupeoaunu’u Va’ai, known as Lupe, was one of two Pacific islanders awarded a gold medal from the Pacific islands. The other gold medallist was Tyra Sioni from Papua New Guinea. “I was so surprised to know that I had won a gold medal for my book! I wrote this story on what I have felt, thought and heard from the stories from my great-grandmother, it was easy for me to write as it came from my heart,” said Lupe. “I hope people like it, and that we can learn from it and help save our Samoa and our planet.” Lupe attends St Mary’s Primary School, and her favourite subjects include Maths, English, Social Studies and Basic Science. She loves learning about the environment and has established an environmental group in her school. This week, she is in London attending the Inter-generational Learning Circle on Inter-generational Equity, Children’s Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals hosted by the Voices of Future Generations (VoFG) and The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. The four-day event, running from 7 – 10 July, includes the launch of an international partnership between VoFG and Bloomsbury Publishing, which will be publishing the child authors books, and the launch of the books at The Houses of Parliament. Lupe will be launching her book as well as participating in panel and roundtable discussions, story sessions and an awards celebration evening. The third day will be a Child Artists and Authors Biodiversity Workshop at Cambridge University grounds with a visit to The Living Rainforest and a Circle of All Beings workshop focusing on protection of animals on the last day. “I’m so excited and nervous about this, it’s my first time to travel for such a long time on a plane, and to go to London,” said Lupe. “I hope to make friends with children from different places and countries and learn about the different problems that other children my age experience and the ways they think we can fix them, it may be something that we can do also.” The Voice of an Island touches on the topics of climate change, biodiversity protection and education. Because of these links, Lupe will be speaking during the session on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on Climate Change, Biodiversity, Energy and Innovation during the four-day event. Lupe will be writing blogs on her journey, which has been supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa and its Strengthening Multi-Sectoral Management of Critical Landscapes in Samoa project, Samoa Stationery & Books and the Principal, Staff and Students of St. Mary’s School, Savalalo. You can learn more about Lupe’s book “The Voice of an Island” at this link: http://voicesoffuturegenerations.org/books1.html, but first, we hear from Lupe in her very first blog on her journey. Hi! My name is Lupe! “Hi, my name is Lupeoaunu’u Va’ai, but you can call me Lupe. I am 12 years old and I am from Vaoala in Samoa. I am currently in Year 8 at St Mary’s Primary School, Savalalo. My hobbies are reading, writing, dancing, learning about the environment, and spending time with my friends. Last year, I entered the Voices of Future Generations Children’s Story Writing Competition, and I wrote an environment-based story which included my island and all the effects and impacts that the pollution is having on it. The main topic is about a girl named Katalina who tries her best to save her grandma’s paradise. Surprisingly, my story won the Gold Certificate. I was very excited and happy! There was a prizegiving in New York last year; unfortunately I was unable to participate in that. Then this year I was invited to travel London where I will be able to launch my book which was published and receive my award! I am so excited to be here in London already and looking forward to finally get to learn more about the other young writers who won prizes. I hope to know what they are doing to help the environment, or what their stories are about. I left my home in Apia, the capital of Samoa, through 3 plane trips, transit in 2 other countries, a train and a taxi ride over the course of 2 and a half days, to be here in London today because many people believed in me. This has given me the courage to continue my story and to make a difference as the environment is very important and not just to the Pacific countries but to all countries of the world. You will be able to read my book after I launch it and if you like it, that’s great! I will be writing more stories about Katalina and her adventures and journeys while trying to save Earth from pollution, global warming, sea level rise and many more!” Source: Talamua  

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