Tuesday, July 28, 2015


The first time I witnessed a ta'alolo was at the opening of the EFKS church in Fogapoa.

A ta'alolo is where a group(village or family) walk/dance together in song and dance to present gifts at the opening of a new building or church or the celebration of some sort.

Large fine mats are usually displayed and there is much noise and celebration.

At the front of the ta'alolo is the dancer - who could be the taupou (female), or manaia (male) or it could also be a chief.

I enjoy watching the dancing in this occasion because it is more ...jovial and fun., almost too sure at times la lea.

On the morning of the Fogapoa celebrations, we gathered at Tuasivi, looking down onto the village below - I was young, bored, and wishing I was home but also intrigued at the chaos that surrounded my mom, who was leading the ta'alolo that day.

The tuiga she wore was gorgeous and so was the fine mat wrapped around her.

I remember thinking, I want to lead a ta'alolo one day, but the trouble is, I have 3 +1 sisters and the baatches dance better than me.

I was the cinderfella that carried the bags while the kolilas danced. But hey- I'm fine about it., I'm still young and there are plenty more churches being built. Haha Hhmmm, now where was I?

Yes---the ta'alolo, it is a beautiful sight and if you ever participate in one, don't forget, be joyful, lively, swing that nifo oti like a bawse and make the most of it.

One of my favourite modern day pics of a ta'alolo with the beautiful Siainiusami Imelda as the taupou.
(Photo credit: Image belongs to Leua Aiono Frost).

The mystery of Pulemelei

This is the view from Pulemelei Mound in Savaii:....I keep wondering and marvelling at the grandeur and poweress of our ancestors....
 I marvel at their strength in creating these structures (the largest of its kind in Polynesia)
 and then fast forward to today,....
                                                 ....what happened?
chooohoooo....(jokes bro, just joking Kilisi!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Just for the record ...

Money Tuiga is something that has been made popular by Samoans in the States in recent years.
It is NOT a tradition (well now it is in America among those who have been doing it for a while).
But please -----know that it is something that is recent and is not a MUST in a graduation.
It's yet an example of how we take our cultural values, inject cash and no class into it until you're broke as a mo'fo and then call it culture.
And for families who are unsure and feeling pressured, DO NOT DO IT.

If you have cash growing on the tree outside your house, go for it. If you are well off and have money to throw away, do it. Make a money tuiga, but please, if you can't afford it - Don't do it.

What is it with our people and the obsession with "Bigger and Better and Grander!"

This is why we have so much dramas, because we bend over backwards to look fab ae uma ae le fa'auuga kago I le u.f.a.

And that, my darlings, should hopefully stop people from emailing me about making money tuigas.


Monday, July 13, 2015


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Domestic Violence in Tonga (but also very similar to Samoa)...and probably everywhere else in the Pacific ):

It saddens me that this is still prevalent in our communities.
I think that in many cases, we continue to use our 'culture' as an excuse to violate the rights of our own, particularly the most vulnerable.
What I really appreciate in the article below is that it looks at domestic violence inflicted by other women and other family members. We tend to presume that its usually the partner/spouse but the perpetrators are women who we are supposed to be trust or protectors.

One of the terms we grew up with at home is 'Malu', to be protected or sheltered. My brother is my protector. My chief is my protector, but when I or someone is violated, we hear things like "E le malu" ---she was not protected. It is a poor reflection of the protector, and their failure to cast that protection upon me.

Sadly, as we have seen frequently in the news lately, it is this very protector who sometimes inflicts the violence.
It reminds me of a young girl in my village who was suddenly 'sent away'. She was not even 10 years and was raped by her father. The solution was this: They moved to the family of the rapist so that they would not bring shame to the family (in my village). That child fell pregnant to her own father. They never came back to our village. But it got me thinking at the time, ...What kind of mother would do this? Allow this to happen to her daughter and then quietly pack her belongings and disappear from her own village - just to protect the name of her family?

(It reminds me also of our how  'cultural roles' disadvantages women who are married into the family. Their status reduced to 'nofo tane' - who serves and slaves away in most cases....I sometimes wonder how we went wrong though, because most of the nofo tanes I grew up with in Savaii where totally hopeless with feaus, lol. oi aue...begs the question, be o le isi end lea o le continuum, o nofo tane ua abuse o latou rights ma ua ga'o le gogofo ma vali akigilima ma fai kala o isi ae le faia gi feau.
ia, thats another thesis right thuuuurrr choohooo---I better stop I panel beat oka foliga e se fafige nofo kangs pe'a o'u afio aku I savaii).

Thank you Peter Munro for writing this:

The Friendly Islands are no friend to women
By Peter Munro

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-friendly-islands-are-no-friend-to-women-20150710-gi8ora.html#ixzz3ffjdNMeE

After every beating she had a shower, to take the heat from the bruises. Iula  [she doesn't want her surname published] wore long clothes to hide the fresh marks appearing on her body each month. "They would sometimes beat me with their fists. They would sometimes slap my face or hit me with a wooden spoon, or sometimes a stick or a piece of wood."
She was punished for speaking back or not doing her chores. Her adopted parents beat her when they came home tired from work. Iula wondered if she deserved their blows. "Once they hit you, you know you're wrong and you learn your lesson."
She's a slight and sweet 18-year-old, wearing a sports jacket and black skirt, with braided hair hanging over her right shoulder. She says she suffered physical and emotional harm as a child and into her teens, largely at the hands of a female relative.
"We know our place in our society": Lady 'Ainise Sevele. "We know our place in our society": Lady 'Ainise Sevele. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Her story is not uncommon in the Kingdom of Tonga, where three out of four women report suffering domestic violence. Here in the so-called "friendly islands", women report being punched, kicked, dragged, beaten or choked. The perpetrator in many cases is another woman.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-friendly-islands-are-no-friend-to-women-20150710-gi8ora.html#ixzz3ffjIPPV3

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ie Faitaga guy

He made the effort to wear an ie faitaga in a culture that is not his and it becomes one of the most shared images of the event. Shame on all of you sharing it. Imagine that that is your brother. Or your father. Just sayin'.
Interesting how we're all about respect and then those who should be leading by example start acting like idiots when it matters the most.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Friday, July 03, 2015

C'mon people, get amongst it if this sounds like you, OR if you know someone in your circles who suits this: