Saturday, June 30, 2012

who's who (:

Otara today was fantastic!

Not the market itself but the actual book signing event by Lani Wendt Young and her awesome team.

Great performances by Tatau Dance Group (from Savai'i, FYI:) Marekoand others who we missed because the kids were crying for churros.The highlight was meeting Lani again after all these years, and seeing her beautiful children involved in her literary journey along with all her supporters and committed fans.

So I walked up to the signing table to buy a book, and Lani's daughter was perched confidently at her seat, looking very very busy. I asked if I could buy a copy of the book and she smiled at me efficiently as said "Go over there first and then here please". Then she smiled warmly and went back to her busy schedule.

Far out, I don't want to mess with her.

Anyhow, it was great to see so many people queuing up to buy their precious copy and seeing the support on the day.

I know that for many people, they can tick something on their bucket list

[] Meet an author and get a signed copy of her book. Check!

You can find out more by visiting Lani's blog, sleeplessinsamoa, where you'll also find out more about getting your own copy.

Malo lava le fa'aea atunuu


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yes, I'm going to Otara on Saturday

I'm taking the children, the aunties and the whole basket and co. to Otara on Saturday to see and get a copy of Lani Wendt Young's book When Water Burns.
If you are in Auckland and free on Saturday, let's go cheer on a local author, a fellow blogger and a very hardworking multitasking superwoman who is making things happen.
and I see there will be performances happening on the day as well...c'mon people, kakou o.

Samoa Quota and my new favorite columnist

I just read another of Morwenna Petaia's columns on Samoa Observver.
I like her writing...very coherent and grounded and easy to relate to.

Then I came across her latest column about the Quota and remittances and migration, and I immediately chucked on my critical pulou lotu, lol.....ready to challenge her (in my head thanks, haha). But as usual, she totally backs up her arguments. Damn it woman!

Anyhow, she does present a good point, if we are losing many of our skilled people, whose left to help grow our economy etc and she touches on the unsustainability of remittances.

But, may I say, there is research (: that proves that for countries like Samoa (and Tonga), remittances over the years have not decreased considerably, family ties remain strong and ongoing immigration/country arrangement have ensured this will continue. 

There are also schemses like the Recognised Seasonal Employer sch(RSE) where those from rural areas are recruited for work within the viticulture and horticural industry in NZ and recently, Australia. 

This means the people being brought to NZ/Aust are only going temporarily but returning home with income that don't just go to faalavelaves but also income generating activities like cattle (ahem - some for faalavelaves aha), small shops, expanding taro plantations and purchasing fishing vessels (small alias).

Morwenna is 105% right in that much of it goes to faalavelaves and sao lelei, we do have a culture of dependence. Why toil in the hot sun when you can rock up to Western Union and withdraw your pekuana?

Countries where out-migration avenues are limited include Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and as a result, face problems of overpopulation, high unemployment and an infrastructure struggling to cope. They don't have the NZQuota to count on  ...BUT, on the plus side, they are a lot more independent than we are in Samoa and Tonga. Most families (esp in the outer villages) have their own garden plots and their diets are a lot better than ours as we yes, remittances and migration are both a blessing and a curse.
fanx you for snoozing through this post with me, 
Frenchy's photo of coast of Asau onboard the Gaualofa 2010

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Winning a prize and then chasing it down, that's another essay

About 7 weeks ago, I won a short story competition and the prize is a return trip to Tonga/Samoa. Yay? nah, not even. yet.
I got the email confirming my win, and then got told the ticket will be sent to me.
After 3 weeks, I politely (as is my mild mannered Librian accommodating and dont rock the boat unassertive nature:) followed up with the organiser, who forwarded to an inefficient travel broker who was supposed to issue the voucher.

Nekk day, I get a response:
Hi Goddess it is my fault in transition to my new role.
But please I will get to you

Me (immediately):
Thank you, Im looking forward to receiving that prize, (:

I'm relieved seeing that its a travel voucher (and not an actual airfare with travel date restrictions, phew), which means I may be able to use it for our family's travel in December, so heres hoping, but the sooner the better because i can't book my family until then,
thanks again and regards.

....then, I waited.
And watched the December peak season fares climb and climb and I begin to realise this effing prize is about to cost me a lot more than its worth.

Another follow up, pas de réaction.

Then, I GOT ANGRY....and no one likes an angry Goddess with fire hissing and glass breaking and heads flailing, so I did the more natural thing:

Dear *insert name of inefficient kerfay*
Can you tell me exactly how many more weeks, days that I will have to wait for?

Be honest with me so can go ahead and make my family bookings and forget about waiting for this prize.
The fares for December have already gone up (again in the last 2 weeks) and this wait( 6 weeks and counting) for this prize is costing me more than it's worth
So let me know exactly when you are gonna get around to giving the voucher or give me your superiors number and I will hurry it along.

The very next second:

Sorry send me your dates now

For your prize.

The moral of the story?

Stop being a wuss and be angry next time or else nothing will happen...and thats the last time I'll enter a blimmin' competition...more headaches than its worth fraggenblibblinghell.

Don't worry, I got this!

There are women out there who are truly onto it, ..they are up at the crack of dawn, preparing their children for school, etc, cleaning the house, washing and then working and still rocking at everything else.

Yeah,  I'm not one of them, but I try.
And most of the time, I think "I got this, chill...let me fix it". shuffle along Bob the Builder.
Much of it comes from planning well ahead so that there are no suprises. Right?
There is such a thing as overplanning and under-caring about what you just planned.

Like setting the alarm clock at 5:30am and waking up at 8. Tuai ai ma tamaiti i le aoga.
Or booking flights 2 months ahead and then realising a week out that the departure date from here coincides with the END of the conference.
And rocking up to a venue a day earlier for an event.

The message for today therefore becomes: Goddess, get your shit together, it's only Monday!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Erakah, what a beautiful and real inspiration

Image from Click here to go buy her music...go on!
She is a 26 year old singing sensation - and up until an hour ago, she was just another gorgeous Kiwi musician, who is here at this event about Life, and being worth it.

Then she rocked up to the mic and what she said moved me, what an inspiration:

"I love this event because I can relate. I had issues with adoption. I thought to myself "no one loves me". I met this guy who beat the crap out of me everyday. Then he began to rape me. Then I went through depression. And then I ended up in those wards where they give you medication...hahah(yes, she was cheerful and smiling as she told her story). In the end, I had to forgive myself. To forgive others. Tough times come and that light in the tunnel that i thought was a train? was gonna run me over, ...that light was not a train, It was God. there's nothing I want more than keeping my heart pure"

Wow - she is my hero for being where she is today.....overcoming those barriers.
She is my hero.

Sexy pastor got swagg

All seriousness aside, there is an extremely sexy pastor doing the prayer and singing on stage.

I don't know about the others around me but I'm absolutely glued to his beautiful words

And yes, I may come from a church where you sit on your badonk from start till the end, and I may feel a bit weird standing up And singing, but Lordy Lord, that pastor is moving me to raise my arms in joy and devotion.


(ohh, he just said he had a broken marriage and failed his sons....I guess there was many a woman before me who thought the same dirty thoughts as me....) ?

Isa! Hahaha...okay, better do some work before I get excommunicated by the pastor's new wife.

Advance Pasifika starts from amongst and within us,...

Today, there is an expo happening in Manukau, where Some churches team up with more than 60 providers to give young people options, be it in the workforce, universities, techs, private training institutions ...whatever, They choose.

..what I am finding interesting is that there is mainly smaller churches, not the usual big churches.

Two nights ago, a bunch on women got together in their own event celebrating pacific women leaders.

Two separate events that exemplify how we can advance Pasifika forward: from amongst us.

For both events, they are initiatives that are from amongst Pasifika people wants to influence their people to do better in our new home, New Zealand.

If we can have more of these events to encourage us, then we are better off.....before we start protesting to the Government for equality.

If you are frustrated about the standard of living, ...then join the queu, we all are and we all feel cheated when we put $60 in the petrol tank and before you exhale, the pump more languishing and inhaling the fumes accidentally and no more time to clean your's nozzle in, petrol gone, next.

So what can we do? Do we want our children subjected to this struggle?

No,...but we can better prepare them for the realities...and that means staying in school, getting employable skills and learning to support themselves,...and ideally, paying for YOU at Mapuifagalele, hah.

okay, I'm ranting a bit because I'm sick of seeing the vicious cycle of lazy people doing nothing and then crying wolf.

K, will try do a positive post next, but in the meantime,....Advance Pasifika must come from amongst us first before we continuing whining about better opportunities (that we already have access to).

Manuia le aso.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tuiga almost complete, and my faalogogaka 'helper'

Today, more than most days, I realise how much I can achieve when my children are out of sight.

As much as I love them, they take up so much of my time, and leave a trail of mess behind them...for me to clean.

This morning, a Saturday, like every other, I get woken up by Tui at 6am, and then by Moelagi at 6:30 because Tui was pulling her hair while she was trying to sleep, in MY bed.

So if any teens are out there reading this and wanting to rush into making babies......think twice, you will never get to sleep in again.

Anyhow, I left terrible two with hungover Frenchy and I spent it downstairs finishing this tuiga....I even got sick of making it but thought, "anything but putting up with those 2".

Argh, if you see me making 6 tuigas a week, it's because I. am. Sick of cleaning up after other people and am locking myself downstairs.

Have a child free weekend yall....lucky you!

Ps: free tuiga if you can take my nightmares off me for a weekend. And take the hubby too, thanks.

Email me if you're interested in this one, but do note, the siapo at the bottom is a siapo sash I just tied on for the photo. Without the siapo, it's just lau u'a (tapa cloth without mamanu applied, but will do that tomorrow.

Thank you,



Friday, June 15, 2012

Advance Pasifika March this Saturday

This Saturday, there will be a protest march in Auckland City for Pasifika people.
I just got sent some more details about it (pasted below for anyone bursting with the need to sing in the streets demanding equality and what not).
The March is called "Advance Pasifika" and below is more deets about it:

ADVANCE PASIFIKA march this Saturday to support the protest against unfairness and inequality experienced by Pacific Island members of our community. Marchers will walk from Albert Park down to Aotea Square, where Mayor Len Brown and Pacific Island Affairs Minister Hekia Parata will be invited to speak.
The event is billed as a march "for affordable housing, better education, quality healthcare, fairness in our justice system, jobs, our children and families, our churches, a better future, Auckland ... Aotearoa".
"This is the first Pacific march. It's historic. It's a poor people's march," says Auckland University chaplain, Uesifili UNasa. "Our children don't get taught. The children of the poor are given secondary education at best. They are there to play first XV rugby and to go and dance in Polyfest," he said. Another organiser, Will 'Ilolahia, said 56 per cent of Pacific people were New Zealand-born and wanted an equal part in society.

The moderator of the Presbyterian Church's northern presbytery, the Rev Fakaofo Kaio, said the march's message was: "Please treat us equally.My standing with it is like a voice for the voiceless, because there are a lot of Pacific Island people who won't know what to do," he said. "They just keep quiet."
I applaud the organisers for this inititive, ....BUT (you saw that coming a ea), I crinch at how this has come about and I question the 'effectiveness' of this supposed 'Peoples' march.

For starters, there is far too much loaded in this protest. The organisers should have sat down together and pulled out key themes,...narrow it down so that there is less scattered 'noise' and more strength in more cohesive message.

Secondly, this protest march looks and stinks like one fueled by the Labour Party and its discontented Pacific MPs, who continue to rant and rave about us being victims and forget to inspire and push those who actually are trying to make things happen.

When I saw the march planned, I was excited, as I wanted to be there, but now, seeing this pathetic press release makes me want to hide.

On the other hand, this is my suggested alternative to those  who will march tomorrow:

Church Leaders: Focus on the youth in your churches. Start to give a damn about their future and start to show an interest in their education. Youth and chilren. And cutting down on bingos and fundraisings so those parents can spent time with their children. Well done to the Samoan Methodists who are doing Career Expos and some EFKS around here....the rest, what are you doing????

Parents: You can protest all you want, but be mindful that those politicians are just, maybe using you to get ammo for their political frustrations. Tell them to get their fat asses back to Parliament and do their job, not using their people to gain support halfway through election term
Young people: No protest will solve your problems today. Stay in school, get your 80 credits in NCEA, excel in Level 2 and get $$$ scholarships, kick ass in Level 3 and you'll be sweet for University, Polytechnics or Training institutions. There are no quick fixes. Switch off Facebook and do some work. 

And as for criticising Polyfest....I wonder who came up with those terms? because isn't Polyfest an initiative from the Pacific community themselves? Shooting themselves in the jandal I see.  

Good luck and no disrespect for those who are genuinely marching for unfairness and inequality and believe that it will make a difference.  
Manuia outou matua, ae ola matou le fanau soifua.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wellington is so and cool and Reeking of confidence

Or maybe I'm just too shattered and my judgement is blurred.


Nah, I love this place, wish I was here longer ...but at least I got to see my sister, nephew, her hubster and family and my other cousin.

Anyhow, this morning started at 5am and I drove to the Samoan shop in otahuhu to buy island food for the Samoans here....don't aks! Hah...anyhow, at 6am, that Samoan shop is humming with the smells of everything yum, and I have never seen such a spread of Samoan food that I have not come across since the days of Moses and The ark.

Pia Sua, supo esi, faausi esi, kalo kao, kalo saka, kalo vela, kalo kalo, pai fala, masoa (really!?) and then the funniest to me was the shelves, it looked like any shop in outback Samoa: filled with mostly two items: corned beef and tinned fish.

They even had kauaga! And masi Samoa....

So as I was waiting my turn, I was feeling rather disgusted at how everything is basically unhealthy food, further drowned in coconut cream and or salt or sugar.."yukk!!!" I thought....diskusteeing!!

And while I was looking down on that unhealthy stuff, the shop assisant walks out with a chilli bin full of steamy stuff,,,,and placed it next to me, and as you would, I opened it and the steam was coming from like, a hundred freshly cooked pork buns.

So I thought to myself "I'm sure my cousin avao will like some keke Puaa"...and proceeded to buy and eat one, Eio, 6am o'clock in the mouning?...disgustttttingly yumm.

So after the beautifully steamed and slightly spiced keke Puaa, I totally forgot about Avao, and anyhow, she would have been disgusted with the stuff anyway.

Theres another thing to add to my bucket list

Eat keke Puaa at

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Independence

So this weekend, we returned to the Tron for their own Samoan celebrations.

Like many samoan affairs, so many chiefs and no Indians to do the feaus.

and then on the night, the few Indians turned into chiefs while some chiefs got legless.

I guess it's called Chiefs country for a reason.

A few days ago, I was called to come emcee the event because their preferred person has a family member passing, very sad and I found it hard to get out of this one,.,,,so off I went, ZERO idea what the event was and so forth,.

A day before the event, I got sent the programme,....professionally set in military precision. I was truly impressed and in fact, I was convinced it was set by someone who had little knowledge of....Samoan timing.

I did forewarn them that there will be peacocks wanting to flash their wares on the night.

And surely enough,...e moni lava,

There were plenty peacocks about, but it all panned out rather well, because there was a professional bunch ultimately managing the night. Great event culminating in a riveting performance by Cindy....the irreplaceable Cindy that makes Tina Turner look like a backup singer.

Overall, a fabulous night with a variety of entertainment, starting with an opera singer who simply wowed the audience, she is of Tongan heritage I believe, names MAddison Nonoa...gorgeous and a voice of an angel.

Another performance I found a winner on the night was a Maori duo, Tearohanui Mangu and Don Clarke, the crowd were on their feet and shouting "en core", fab jazz tunes.

All in all, great night, only set back was the food....there was no Puaa.

And I know exactly what you're thinking "Eh! What a typical fob, judged the event with her stomach!"

..after the event, I felt disgustingly sober around our friends who were, for lack of a better term, shitfaced.

I knew the bottles of 'coke' they were sipped was actually 95% Whiskey and the rest was coke for colourings sake....I know this because I accidentally grabbed a bottle as I passed and then almost fell on my face as the whiskey hit the back of my throat. ..strange to say but it was nice to be the sober one who can claim to remember everything the day after, while everyone looked like shit and stank like the horotiu abattoir.

Malo le Eva. But thank goodness tis independence is over.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

discovering mysteries in old Samoa photography

Since this whole tuiga journey, I have done extensive obsessive research about it, in libraries (Nelson library in Apia, Wellington, Auckland) and have been to museums just to see tuigas in its many forms.

I am fascinated with it, with how tuigas have evolved, and how beautiful they are, ....were.

Also, at how some are outrightly. Ugly.

There is a classic example of ugly tuiga at the Auckland museum, made in the 90s and it reminds me of something suited for a Brazilian kugki at the Carnival. Seriously.

On the other hand, I am in love with the display of tuigas at the recent Samoan independence, ..with some absolutely gorgeous ones from Tutuila.

This week, I am recreating one to mirror one from an old photo that was captured by Otto Tetten, who came to Samoa to set up the Mulinuu Observatory during the German Administration.

This is very special to me, because I was fortunate enough to see the personal collection he owned, in Germany, still in the original suitcase it was kept in. I wrote about this back in 2006 when I visited the beautiful Niggeman family but at the time, I didn't really see the tuiga ones as special. I was more overwhelmed with the extensive collection.

Now, I am loving it. in the image by Tettens, it displays the tuiga in its 4 parts, in great detail, with two men tasked with placing the tuiga on the wearers head.

I love it.

I will report back when it's finished, year. Hah....

I am trying to make this one our family one, but I am a little short on hair, any relatives out there wanting to be part of history and part with their long hair..., let me know and I'll bring my scissors...please don't cut your hair in large clumps, but divvy them up into small parts so it's easier for me to tie. Please, pressure (:

Thanks Malelega for salvaging our tuiga hair from Safuanation, it's a good start.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Hoping for the best outcome.

Sometimes, you truly don't know what you've got until they may no longer be around, ...or at least, face the unthinkable possibility.

Someone is not well. And that someone has so much impact on those around them.

That someone has so much positive influence and so much more to give.

I keep running scenarios in my head, willing for things to come out positively, successfully.

Because that someone is so so so important in others lives....even to someone like me who is simply on the periphery looking in, cheering from the sideline.

I hope for the best, for you, and selfishly, for everyone else around you who are better people because of you.

Praying, hoping, thinking, for the best.