Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Samoan when you're down.

Another *cute example of how another mainstream newspaper views a story:
That a woman who is a kiwi, represents Local government, an accomplished citizen of NZ, graduate and leader is simply reduced to being "othered" because she spoke up about racism.
"Samoan politician" ain't it adorable how ethnicity comes in so handy when it's a contentious issue but no questions asked about her kiwiness if she was throwing a javelin at Olympics? Or winning a golf tourny?
I suppose Bern...ard Orsman, the writer of this saw that a woman has complained, read the press release by Skycity and thought: yep, they're just doing their job.
He also refers to Efeso Collin's experience last year and in a negative way., as if they were crying wolf and thrown unfounded accusations.
Absolutely *cute.
Skycity - quick to rob but slow to grow a conscience.

*cute: how privilege views the world and judges everyone not part of that privilege.



Borrowing in the samoan context

I imagine that as the world evolves and humanity strides ahead, one thing will not never. ever. change.

My people's interpretation of the concept  'Borrowing'., faagoi (ae le fa'afoia, oi aue)

Here's what the borrow word means in my village:
When the kid from the house next to your house comes to say:
"My mother sent me to borrow your teuila flowers because it's our family's turn to decorate the pulpit this Sunday"

This means they are asking to take something, and there is no intention of returning it.

Things that people borrow pretty much range from anything to everything that can be moved, lifted and taken.

One of the things that baffled/angered me growing up was seeing MY clothes on the pa'uelo girl from the village, and knowing it was "borrowed" from our washing.

Or seeing our bed sheets blowing from their clothesline - along with our last name brightly marked on the corner of the sheet - and seeing the borrower - owner deny taking it.

Borrowing with no intention of returning occurs right through our system.

Even last week, there was that list of names in the newspaper stating those who owe money to a local business.

And then a sort of related case of crook or fake 'real estate' people who take money off people and

But I take you back now on a little borrow kind of fagogo - except, this shit is real.
Please note, If you're a self-righteous perfect person with morals intact, I beg you, please fuck off now because this fagogo will offend you. ok bye,

Now, where was I?

"There is a guy who is basically a born pervert. He is famous for masturbating while women are showering unaware. He is so well known for his perversion that he had been fined several times by the village council, which ironically are full of perverts anyway, but that's another fagogo.
Anyway, I know a woman who was showering one day and as she was lathering soap on her body, she looked down at the hole where the water flows into and she saw the infamous guy's face - but that's not the funny part. That comes next, ...he was lying down on the ground, with his face looking up where that soap and water is splashing and so he was repeatedly wiping it off his face with one hand and his other hand was beating his tipo. So you can imagine, it was a real juggling act.
The woman pretended she didn't see the perv and quickly finished, then walked out, towelled and ran outside to catch him.
She caught his as he was adjusting his lavalava, and he was sort of dirty from lying down in the dirt,
She was angry and yell what the fuck he was doing there and in a rather calm manner, he responded:
"Oh hi, I came to borrow some kipolo" (minor detail, there isn't a single kipolo tree in the whole area.

So you see, the art of borrowing is pretty complex in the samoan context. No doubt there are exceptions and if you've never encountered a problem with someone borrowing your valuables permanently, I say this to you. You lucky fukker. Keep those freaks close to your heart because they are special and rare and unique.

My message for the month is this:

If someone borrows something for you and they are Samoan, say bye. Just. say. bye. to your belonging.
Kiss it, hug it, say some words of love because this is goodbye,.
If it comes back to you ae le'i malepelepe, good on you.
If not, at least you say your goodbyes,

Things people borrowed from me and I want it back:

-My Pablo escobar book
-My pink shoes in Year 4 that I left in my bag when our class when fishing and then I got a subsequent hiding for not looking after my shoes even though the ailalafa chic from sapapalii took it
- Our family tuiga that up to this day remains with a family who borrowed it and never came back
- My elei white puletasi that I saw in the washing in Paia even though we were only dropping in to visit family
- Our cow St John that a family from Puapua picked up one day but I know ended up at the funeral
- My scarves - sisters, I'm looking at you bitches
- My pony that I never owned.
- My virginity - oh wait. nevermind hahaha

ia, ua lava ia kala

Friday, June 09, 2017

Mom doing her siva

Last week, the long anticipated Life-Con explosion took place in Samoa.
It looked amazing!!!
anyhow, mom ended up doing her usual  but this time, my friend sent a vid of her siva and when I posted it on FB - there were so many comments and shares about her performance.,lol

Mom has always been and always will be the performers. She's a gifted dancer and she puts her emotions into that siva like her life depends on it.

We are absolutely blessed to have her as our mom and pray that she continues to stay joyful and dancing for a very long time.

proud of my momma,

and love you Henry for recording!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

I finally found time to read Whispers and Vanities, wow,. love Tuiatua's mind!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Learning to let go

For the last 10 years, I've been running Samoa Language Week activities in my community, because I love it, and mainly because my smalls benefit as a result,

This year, I left the country to be far away from Samoans. lol.

No really.

The school programme has morphed into a life of its own, and it made me relieved and also a bit sad seeing it being fully adopted and supported by school. This means it's no longer the onus on me to harass and beg for air time, resources, priority.
After much persistence and diy-ing, they have taken it on.

But I want to share my little experience:

Don't wait for Government, School Board, Funding, or numbers to make your pacific language an area of focus.

If you don't do something, then no one will give a damn.

What irks me about samoan language in New Zealand is this, we have thousands of Samoans who have resided in Auckland city, Polilua and beyond since the 70s and guess what, there are only a few schools that have a bilingual unit or any focus on Samoan language.

Makuai fumfa lava kakou....ka ke igoigo ai fo'i sole I le kele o gei community leaders and a oka va'ai I le fa'alekogu lea e iai, oi aueee...

Anyway, back to positive energy

O le matou taumafaiga lea mo lenei tausaga, o le finau lea e fa'ataua taumafaiga a tamaiti ae maise lava o le a'oa'oina lea o mataupu e pei o le Science, Tech, Engineering, Math.

O tamaiti o lo'o talatalanoa mai le ata lenei - e ese le maoa'e o lo latou tomai i STEM subjects, ma'umau pe ana lelei ua fa'apea aoga ma faiaoga.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Domino Effect

After a few years off - I decided to do some study. After all, I work in an academic institution and I felt that I was losing sight of that whole ‘student experience’.
My superior was very supportive and in my mind, I thought, how hard can it be, it’s just another paper.
A few weeks on and my goodness, how I underestimate my propensity for fluffing about and not focussing on my assignments. Pardon my swahili.
The irony of all this is, my life over the last decade has been about encouraging and pushing students to excel, focus, achieve and more. Oh the irony.
As I type this, I am inhaling chunks of humble pie and wtfwasithinking pudding, downed with dafugg smoothies.
I’m grateful that I resumed studying because it reminded me of how so very important it is to plan, plan, and plan my work.
It reminded me also when my assignments are overwhelming and the work is piling up, avoiding it solves nothing. Being sad solves nothing. Busying myself with other activites does not help. Procrastinating solves nothing.
But communicating helps, planning ahead helps, taking ownership for my failures help, and gettingTF off Facebook does miracles.
I guess what I’m saying is, I suck at studying, I lost my study mojo but I’m getting it back slowly. I also have to honest to myself and accept that I need time to focus on my assignments and stop telling people that I’m ok.
And to all the students who I harrase and say “You can do it!!! Chip away, you got this!!!I believe in you!!!” simply remember this, do as I say, do it for those who can’t like me, lol.

Monday, April 17, 2017

When chicken soup conjures sweet memories

I made hearty chicken soup this week.
My cousin and her precious newborn were here, and my/our island response to feeding someone unwell is naturally to make soup.
When she ate it, she laughed out loud and said "This totally reminded me of the Granma's soup a ea"
Ps, we grew up together in Savaii and reminisced about Granma and that this is the time she passed.
Anyhow, it was a joyful evening laughing about her funny jokes and remarks.

A few days later, while having lunch with the smalls, I explained to MM how Granma's meal needed to be prepared and fed to her. And right there and then, I just couldn't stop my tears - and just wept, ae makamaka le au laiki.

Note, I'm not really an emotional person, so this was awks.

It got me thinking about home. A lot.

And the concept of home.

And our mortality.

Oka ka'i deep.

We were blessed that our grandmother lived to old age, and it got me thinking of those who have lost their loves too soon.

To cancer and all other illnesses, to car accidents and violence and much more.

So heartbreaking and I'm depressing myself thinking about it.

But I feel that the greatest lesson I learnt about the loss of my Grandmother is this,

She had very little in terms of material things but she gave her all, to others.

Despite having suffered a stroke in the early 80s, she remained strong, in her mind and in her heart and soul right to the end.

And while she laid in that double bed, with her bible, pese, money box and harmonica alongside her, she spoke and sang hymns, told legends, recited chants, told us stories of who was connected to who and who had sex with who, haha. She reminded us who we were/ are. She protected us from the beatings dished to us. She stopped us from fighting among ourselves. She okegiaed everyone from her bed, including the faifeau.
She yelled out at spirits that wandered in the dead of the night. She prayed for us, with us and she made us recite an hour of scriptures every night before dinner.
 She may have been unwell physically but her mind was on form.

Each of us who grew up with grandparents have had the privilege of gaining insight into their worlds, and they poured knowledge into our minds.

And then I reflect on the people of our family and others who have passed away long before they had aged, and it got me even sadder for the knowledge they took to the grave. And the children they leave behind, who won't get to ask them questions, or make them chicken soup.

Today, if you have an elderly parent or person in your family, take the time to talk to them and have a chat, record their stories, or even write it down - so that their memories will be later on part of your family treasures.

Some things I wrote down about my Granma many years ago which is making me laugh now:

Faleasi'u once sneaked out
from Papauta school and went with her mates to meet the Aele boys across the street.
Upon return, Salamasina beat them up with a broom stick until it broke and made them walk all the way to Mulinuu to fetch seawater.

Not bad for a nite out with the boys. heh


Faleasi'u used to remind us that laughing too loud meant 'ua ova lo'u aka kauvalaau, ua ova lo'u fia faikoolua laikiki ma lou fia lokeloke le polo a le kamaloa'.
Translation: I am laughing with the intention of drawing attention, from the opposite sex, because I want to get a husband at a young age and I want to play his balls.
Faleasi'u lived in Pago Pago for a while and they used to go up the hill to collect coconuts and roll it down the hill. not sure why I remember this one hmmm.
She was a bit of a tomboy and was really good with building things, including tables and chairs. She did a lot of this in Manase, where her parents were faifeau and where her youngest child was born (Tanumafili who the newborn babe above is called :)

Faleasi'u used to listen to 2AP and she would say to us, you must go and enrol at aoga matataese i tuasivi, learn a trade in carpentry, "until I'm ready to go to Papauta Girls School where I will be taught how to be a lady, and be a good wife to a Congregational Church Minister and we will be have many children, who will wear only what I will sew from my sewing machine, I will learn embroidery for the pillows and bedspreads and make sure I pleasure my Church Minister husband well or else a member of the choir will be fondling with his balls."

You're welcome.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Polyfest 2 weeks ago....stunning !

Monday, March 20, 2017

Polyfest taupou season done for the year,

Our gorgeous taupou came 2nd this year and she did an amazing job.
Fa'afetai Netta's aiga for letting me be part of this

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Keep on Going - International Woman's Day #IWD 2017

IWD, International Woman's Day is tomorrow, and so is the deadline for my assignment, I therefore found the time miraculously to blog about this issue because, neither the day or the assignment is exciting me too much right now.

So, Samoan woman. Where are you?
In my mind, there are two very distinct paths that define a samoan woman in the samoan context,
You can be a tama'itai, honoured, has esteemed purpose, celebrated.
or a fafige or keige: simply a woman.
A tamaita'i has status and is respected, a fafige has to cook the food until her eyes are red from blowing into the fire.

Fai aku ai foi.

Ese le kou leaga I gai fafige hah

This is my dedication to all the women today,
Each one going through your own
and your WTF days,
Here's to ya ...

Keep on Going

Keep on weaving that magic, that history that passion that love, keep on going

Keep on painting that siapo onto lau u'a that you alone had planted, nurtured, pounded, stretched, dried and meticulously decorated. Keep on Going.

  Keep on embracing your loved ones whenever you have the chance, keep on loving because you never know when they leave this world
 Keep on being a mother, but also a father to your children, keep on leading and excelling, in your chosen field.
Keep on focussing on the possibilities and not on the barriers
Keep on living, sharing, loving, and when they're old enough, they'll know that you have given them your all, Keep on loving
 Keep on loving other people's children like their own
 Keep on seeing the best in people and being there for others in need,
Keep on sharing your knowledge, empowering young people, wowing the children, reciting our histories, advocating for the vulnerable and being the incredible Queen that you are,
The woman who brought me into this world and continues to inspire me everyday. Mom, you are my original and forever #shero! Thank you for living your truth and for being the epitome of a strong passionate authentic loving mindful woman. I love you!

and from my end, I shall keep on procrastinating, now that it's almost midnight and my assignment is due soon, Keep on Going even when I keep digressing.

Monday, March 06, 2017


In the weekend, I decided to clean up my old files from my era of studying.
I read through some of the projects and I did some real self-reflection and realised how naïve I was as a student.
And hey,...still am. haha

I came across a project we did as a group project - where we had to take on an advocacy role in the Emissions Trading Scheme process.
We (4 of us) chose to be Greenpeace - but we decided to go a step further and actually meet with Greenpeace, infiltrate them (lol) and truly get in their brains to that we could position ourselves are advocates for Greenpeace on the issue.
Then I read through my emails I had sent to people and OMG I had no shame hahaha!
In any case, my naivety meant that actual Greenpeace people took time out to help me and then my team, explain the process, their stance, their past work, and ways to traction/change in actual campaigns. omg, it was amazing.
Anyhooo, when it came to the negotiation rounds, our group were relentless and super aggressive with the dairy industry - aka the fukkers who have hijacked the process (lol).
The funny part in this whole process was that - while it was a uni project, we had to conduct ourselves as if it was the actual negotiations. We, being the anti-angry panties in the process were definitely the odd ones in the room, and the group represent Government were actually irritated with our position (now isn't that a representation of reality? haha).
Anyhow, the negotiations went right into the evening and during one of the breaks, I went into the toilet and one of the dairy people came into the toilet asking if we could do a deal; ie, they'll make some compromises and consider regulation, but only after 2020 but still excluding the methane-farting cows from all this. in other words, it's hardly a compromise.
I stood there in that university toilet and asked her:
"Can I pee first before we continue this argument? and tell your farmers to go f%^& themselves".
She burst into tears and dashed out.
Yes, this was a uni project that was turning into real life fall outs and tension.
Then my team came into the toilet and told me off for being a bully - while I was still peeing.
I gathered my thoughts, walked out of the bathroom - and asked them:
"Can't you wait until I've washed my hands?"
I washed my hands and I told my poor group (of 4) off....basically, you're a bunch of %&*^^ for bending over backwards to the fukkers and to Government. Then, they, my own negotiating team stopped me and said, I needed to get over myself and meet the fukkers halfway, they're tired and they want to go home.
I folded under the pressure - and because my team were cowards - I can't stand cowards - I thought.
For the rest of the term, I didn't have many friends in that room.
I still got an A but it was a lonely A. choohooo.

Now, many years on, I'm wistfully re-read the tense exchange of emails and threats and side - deals that went on, and its made me realise,

I've lost that un-cultivated angry pantiness and the le kea dontfuggtome part of me.

And it absolutely frightens me.

It frightens me that I have become someone that complies, follow the rules, and choose silence instead of speaking up and advocating for others in need.

In a way, I've gained knowledge and some experience but have lost that  passionate conviction that knows no boundaries.

I've become -  Institutionalised.

Fuck that shit, I'm going to correct that right now.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Emergency and Disaster Management Underwear thesis

This week, after a few years of having no academic studies whatsoever, I re-enrolled into a programme.

In Disaster and Emergency Management.

It took me several months to get my ish together and decide.

I had a discussion with the programme person and they mentioned that the course was mainly for practitioners already in EMD.
She asked whether I had experience or prior knowledge, as the content is quite intense.

With my very serious dontfuggtome face, I told her:

"Of course, I have extensive experience in disasters. I lived through cyclones, volunteered in the aftermath of a tsunami, I am involved in fundraising efforts after each disaster and more importantly, I am from a Samoan family. That makes me a resilient survivor of all kinds of disasters chooohooo"
jokes but really
She didn't laugh. Clearly my sick humour isn't going to be much use in class. aikae ia se,

What I didn't tell her was and is partially why I chose to do this is:

"I have extensive knowledge of the shitty content that arrive into the Pacific region and elsewhere after a disaster,  some of which include expired cans of fruit salad and beetfoot, broken furniture, long johns and ski boots".

This got me thinking about my actual real experiences of emergency and disasters.

Vi tree fall.
One of my early memories of an emergency is when a male from my village climbed a tree one Sunday afternoon and subsequently fell more than 10 meters to the rocky ground.
The only vehicle at the time of the accident, belonged to a school principal who was drunk at the bar down the road. So essentially, a drunk driver drove the fallen guy to the hospital, where there was no Doctor anyway.
The above incident was summarised well by the mother of the victim:
"Ua afu a lega le kou soli aso Sa. This all happened because you climbed a tree on the day of the Lord."
In other words, he deserved it. End of emergency. PS, he survived.

Ma'i maliu
Another recurring emergency that I have seen a lot - even recently, is a person having an epileptic attack. This happened a lot for one of my family members. But what is most concerning is the emergency response that follows: Ku'i le kua or the back of the head.
For some screwed up reason, people yell out to hit the back of the head or the back of the person.
As per the above example, I sometimes feel that with ever samoan emergency, another is bound to follow due to the response. Oi Malia e!

Carrying on from the above point, I remember the day our whole village took cover inside our church building, each family in among the long bright green church pews - the wind howled but we were safe inside. Dim kerosene lights inside and hushed conversations - otherwise, the action was all outside. Just as we were chilling under the seats, the wind simply ripped the roof off - rolling it away like a mat. My mom being the Red Cross guru was yelling at people to stay down and get under the seats  but there was just mad panic and screaming and people running outside of the church.
The injuries that day were from people who ran outside and got hit by debris. Thankfully, the majority stayed put or were held back at the exits until the wind eased.
The next part of this disaster led us all into the next building - smaller than the church but still large enough for everyone to lie down and wait out the storm.
There was a woman with a large gash across her head/forehead and  in the absence of a doctor or much medical equipment, we all watched as the wound was cleaned and then, wait for this, sewn together with a filo and bandaged. We had a trusty First Aid case that mom kept stocked, it came in handy.

After the cyclone, there were lots more injuries,  mainly cuts when people were cleaning up the mess. The villagers were treating our house like a blimmin hospital and limping over to be treated.
The best part was - my mom being away and my sisters and I actually doing the bandages  and wait for this, my younger sister - who was only what, 8 at the time, offering out panadols as a cure. choohooo. She lost her self-appointed medical licence when mom found out.

Laughs aside, I'm really looking forward to doing the programme -

I'm hoping that it gets me closer to addressing these issues:

  • What is the best response for a community in NZ to a disaster in their homeland?
  • How is disaster funds allocated? What percentage goes to 'administration' and is there a more efficient way?
  • How can we use our traditional knowledge of our environment and in responding to disasters?
  • The role of social media and disaster, how can we better utilise social media? And ethics in reporting sensitive issues or images? 
  • How can we ensure that donations/ goods are aligned with the needs of the affected people?
  • What is the true cost of a disaster?
  • How can we better respond to disasters?
  • Are we prepared at all,  do we have a plan with our loved ones about what to do?
  • Where to meet, who to call etc...oh yeah, do that now with your kids please.
  • Are you a disaster? lol
Ia, ua lava ga update pesto.

fa loa

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tuiga season is ooooooonnnnnnnn :) thank you mama for teaching me.
Thank you last minute taupous and manaia for giving me work :)
Ma'umau pe ana le fa'alavelave le galuega a le parang i a'u faiga kuiga se.
#polyfest #tuigabyfotuosamoa #onatuliaileaoia

Tuiga by FotuoSamoa #tuigasamoa #tuigaheaddress  

Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Vanilla Sausage Fest

The movers and shakers that hold the purse-strings in the most deprived areas of NZ, are not a representation of that area.

If we want to walk the talk, every Board, every Government funded organisation should have representation at the top. Making decisions.
Or at least, those at the top, be immersed in understanding the region and the people they are meant to work for.
As long as white old men continue the sausage fest at the top, change be sluggish. and impact will be on the whole, very vanilla. 

Representation and Diversity is crucial:

Not in a handout kind of way, but a real reflection and embracing of the diversity that is this region.

If you only have ham and cheese on your pizza, its boring, get creative and sprinkle some cajun and mint in there.

Think about it.

Declaimer: Not intended to offend anyone or directed at you. And if you're offended, Bye. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Clickbait vs Integrity: A critical analysis of Lani Wendt Young's cyber content

This post below is something I thought hard about, and I know it will offend those mentioned, but I feel if I keep it to myself any longer, I will lose more of my goddess aura., so here I go.

I've been following and admiring Lani Wendt Young's work and passion for the last few years, and having met her many moons ago, I was quite thrilled when I stumbled across her blog when she was in Samoa, I thought, "Yuss! she's armayyshing, totally stalking her!"
and stalk - I did.
She wrote lovely posts about her family, her fab 5, cooking disasters and her hot man.
Funny stuff from an intelligent woman.
Loved her blog.

Then she published her Galu Afi book and I was over the moon.
It was a wonderful way to share about the incredible and heart-breaking stories of those who survived it. I loved it. And I read and reread my copy while I wept. Then I lent it to Wanz and I"M STILL WAITING FOR IT TO COME BACK! Savaii borrowing right thurr.

And from there, she wrote more books which I have proudly supported and shared about and boasted to students about.


Lani then commanded and continues to command cyberspace/social media circles. She travelled to promote her books and shared her learnings with aspiring writer all over. Genius.

But what I admired the most about Lani, is her passion for a cause. Whatever cause it may be.

Women, West Papua, Rainbow community, children, Violence against women, her position on the Mormon church decisions, etc etc etc etc etc etc.

Then she started a wonderful page which has great content and issues which I loved reading about, advocacy, feminism, giving voice to different perspectives and much more. Samoa Planet! Interesting read!

Then, something horrible happened:

I developed Lani-fatigue.
I got tired of reading about bad mom updates and of the same rhetoric over and over. I got tired of the different causes and I felt like screaming "FFS, choose a cause and stand by it!" but instead, I did none of that stuff, I just simply, unfollowed Lani and I told my conscience that maybe in a wee while, after a break, my tolerance will improve and I will appreciate Lani's updates again.

While I was on my break, a post on Samoa Planet was shared and it had hilarious content about going out in Samoa. Riveting reading up until the point where, without naming the person, she was very clearly described. Wow.

So my question became: If you are such an advocate for women, how could you let an opinion piece which singles out a woman and to an extent, ridicule her get past you? That's something which really saddened me.

I pondered, in our fixation for likes and clicks, how far will we go?

Having read the SVSG debacle recently, I realised something, Lani's passion for sharing this issue overrides the need for a balanced story. Are there ethics that bloggers must abide by or are those only reserved for journalists?

I am reflecting back now to Lani's earlier content on social media and I miss the days where she was writing for herself and unfazed with how many people were reading her words.
She was so much more readable then.
Now, it feels like she writes with an army of admirers watching,....minus me.

I still respect Lani in her conviction and bold courageous stance, but something about her online actions recently has meant she is one admirer down.

Thankfully, I am only one, and she has thousands of adoring fans all over the globe.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Tuiga Season is here - or rather, the beginning is here

Photo credit: Yvette SJ.
Each year, in the lead up to Polyfest and Pasifika, I send a message to people in my networks here that if they want tuiga for Polyfest, to contact me well in advance.

yeah sure, they said.

Then, 2 weeks before Polyfest, I get loads of stressed out parents calling wanting stuff at the last minute.

So please please, if you're a taupou or manaia for Polyfest and you want a tuiga, then
please contact me before end of Feb or sooner so you won't be disappointed.
I can't accept requests on the week of Polyfest (for my own sanity).

Some of my previous work:



All images are mine unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Samoan kids got for Christmas

We got sent this pic of our nephew J, with his kaavale akigi apa in Niue. We used to love these in Savaii, coolest toy ever, made of tinned cans, sticks and a bit of fire for the exhaust.

Malepe loa le budget ....choohoooo!