The ‘Aganu’u Fa’asamoa 101’ course is an innovative development initiative funded by Pasifika Futures under the Whanau Ora programme, designed to deliver cultural and language-standard skills for a wide range of Pacific families, including individuals from vocational careers which require the use of a Pacific language.
ANGIE ENOKA explores how one family attended Aganu’u Samoa 101 to glean more about their mother’s heritage.
There is nothing unusual about young Samoan people speaking in chiefly oratory language, and this recently brought tears to a proud mother’s eyes.
Children of the Tau family in Porirua took part in a week long programme which requires hours of learning and speaking the Samoan language.
Ioritana, Tiana and twins Mafutaga and Faaolataga Tau were part of the ‘Aganu’u Samoa 101’ programme, facilitated by tutors Tuu’u Mary Kalala Autagavaia and Tanoa’i Reupena Michael Tanoa’i in Wellington.
The programme was delivered under Pacific Whānau Ora, in collaboration with Epiphany Pacific Trust and He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Inc.
The programme supports and helps Samoans and people of other Pacific ethnicities to understand the importance and richness of Samoan culture.
Mafutaga says having all of them attending the programme is their way of learning and understanding their mother’s heritage.
“We were keen to learn Samoan as much as we could, to speak our mother’s language and to understand the Samoan language and protocols when we are involved in activities at church.”
It was an emotional experience for Patricia Tau seeing her children attempting oratory speeches.
“I couldn’t hold my tears back, listening to them speaking with so much passion and strength to put into action all they have learned in a week.
“I’ve always allowed them to learn on their own accord."
She says it's a great opportunity and as a Samoan mother seeing them engaged in and learning as much as they could about Samoan history, culture and language, she was thrilled.
“Having heard my children attempting public announcement of gifts in a Samoan way was unimaginable," says Patricia.
“I can see it’s a worthwhile experience and I will ensure they keep practising at home and take up any opportunities in the community and church.”
The Tau family attended along with many others in Porirua the week-long programme aimed at Samoans who want to learn more about their identity and culture.
“Many NZ-born maybe conversant in everyday Samoan language but struggle to understand the formal language and that’s why we are pushing for such a programme in the community,” says Tuu’u Mary Kalala Autagavaia, Director of Epiphany Pacific Trust.
“The language and culture course we provide equips and encourages participants to use the Samoan language in every day settings as well as more formal events.
“About 95 percent of the course is taught in the English language for our learners to understand what they are saying and the history and importance behind it.”
Mrs Tau highly recommends the course to other families, in particular NZ-born Samoan children, who are willing to understand Samoan culture and practice.
She says it’s a fantastic programme and it’s a blessing that her children can take part in it.
When she recounts how proud she is as a mother to see her children finally being able to learn what hadn't been passed on to them, she still sheds a few tears.
If you’re interested in the programme check out the Aganu'u Fa'asamoa 101 facebook page.