This article explores the work of a prize-winning West Auckland photographer whose work has been shown around the world. Edith Amituanai photographs the ordinary, everyday world around her, documenting it as a record for the future.
Carlos Vakalaloma has lots of interests. He likes playing rugby (he’s a prop) and doing jigsaw puzzles (the old-school kind with up to a thousand pieces). During lockdown, he also spent a lot of time cooking. Carlos really likes Italian food. But if he was forced to choose his favourite meal, to both cook and eat, he’d say sapasui. Sapasui is eaten all across the Pacific. The dish is a version of chop suey, which originally comes from China.
This article describes three well-known dance forms from Sāmoa. The article is accompanied by colourful, high-energy photos of students from a Porirua primary school performing the slap dance and the sāsā. The article features some of the history of the dances and it also provides opportunities for an in-depth exploration of the relationship between the heroes of the dances and the stories that each dance tells.
This article describes tuatara and how they are bred in captivity. Photos, including X-rays, and a glossary provide support for students as they learn about this fascinating animal. Some of the concepts may be challenging for students, particularly “living fossils”, extinction, and X-rays. Also, the article contains mixed text types, although these are clearly signalled through headings.
“Uncle Tino” is a deceptively simple story about Samoan twins, Jessie and Jonas, who are embarrassed by their exuberant uncle who has recently arrived from Sāmoa. The lively story is woven through with Samoan concepts and values as Jessie and Jonas gradually change their attitudes toward Uncle Tino. The story reinforces the idea that cultural knowledge and skills are “cool” and worthy of respect.
An art gallery has a new exhibition and it’s hired a security guard to make sure no one touches the paintings. A visiting art critic has strong opinions about the value of the works, but things start going wrong when a thief enters. The humour in the play comes from the diverse array of characters and their changing opinions on the value of the “art”.
The Great Barrier Reef is very beautiful – and threatened. This report describes the Great Barrier Reef and explains what coral is. It also outlines the threats to the reef from climate change and its “evil twin”, ocean acidification.
The people of Sāmoa celebrated fifty years of independence in 2012. This article tells the complex story of colonisation and decolonisation that saw Sāmoa controlled by Germany, and then New Zealand, before finally securing self-rule. The former rulers enforced unpopular laws and punished dissent harshly. In addition, thousands of Samoans died of influenza as a result of poor quarantine practices under New Zealand’s rule.
by Lana Lopesi and Grace Teuila Evelyn Iwashita-Taylor
This book explores Samoan tatau in two parts: the first part is an interview with tattooist Tyla Vaeau and the second is a comic that retells how tatau came to Sāmoa. The interview with Tyla explores her Samoan culture, how she became a tufuga tā masini (electric tattoo artist), the process and practice of tattooing, and the significance of being a woman working with tatau. The comic retells the origin story of how tatau – and in particular the malu – came to Sāmoa through Tilafaigā and Taemā. The book links to the article “For the Ancestors”, published in School Journal, Level 3, November 2019, which recounts one woman’s experience of receiving her malu.
Information and tips for using comics in the classroom:
This contemporary story is about a boy and his love of planes, but students will also read about the importance of his name and how a chance meeting helped him gain confidence. Samoan students will identify with Lagi, and all students will enjoy his enthusiasm and excitement as he sets off on his first trip to Sāmoa.