Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pasifika




My International srudents from Chile, Peru, Korea, Italy, France, Spain, Iceland and so on asked me what Pasifika stood for. I explained that it was a celebration of the Pacific Island nations representing Niue, Tahiti, Tokelau, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji and tangata whenua (Maori, New Zealand)












SIA KO VEIONGO R.F.C. 1966
George in front of the coach.

A distinquished George now.


These are synthetic leis, not the frangipani ones you see wore by the Pacific Islanders.




 Here I am with my ESOl srudent/friend George and his daughter Sita infront of his stall selling Tongan craft. See my Pasifika hat? I didn't like the feeling of the lei, so I wound it round my hat.
 On Wednesday mornings, I go to Mt Albert Baptist Church. The kids in school ask me why I go there. I tell them, I teach big people to learn English. I tell them there mums and dads can go and learn English and about New Zealand Culture.  I tell them about George. He is the best example to an immigrant to New Zealand.


Mālō e lelei - hello

I always greet George "Mālō e lelei" because these are the only Tongan words I know. My students in Pt Chevalier school taught me to say that and assured me that it is enough when I greet a Tongan person.

This is George Petelo Fa'apoi. He is 75 and comes to Mt Albert Baptist Church ESOL classes as a senior student. He is a very regular attendant and is such an inspiration. I don't teach him, so I regard him as a friend. He is what the proverbial phrase, tall, dark and handsome man and soft spoken that any woman, me inclusive, would want for her boy friend.

In his younger days, he had traveled the world with the Tongan Shipping agency and had been to Borneo. George's extensive CV was high lighted when he was the security guard on duty during the French bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. He was an eye witness.

George is one of the few surviving Tongan rugby players that first played against the Maori All Black in 1966.

Now as a retiree, he doesn't twiddle his thumbs. He attended numerous courses including alcoholism seminars, Pacific Islands sexual abuse counselling course, interpreting in English and Tongan, to help his people.

Instead he volunteers with the Friendly Islands Wardens Incorporated, and with 7 ex policemen. He provides security for Auckland City, Balmoral area, Sandringham and Avondale area. George is the manager. He is a friendly grand pa to many of the Polynesian kids.

He is one of the initiators of the Pasifika Festival Celebration in Western Springs. He holds a stall with his wife. Their stall won the best dressed stall in Tonga village in 2010. Such is the dedication and passion for his culture.

After more than 40 years in New Zealand, he can show the kids a thing or two. Life doesn't need to be a useless bum as is the stereotyping prejudiced ideas perceived of immigrant people from the islands.

George lives with his wife, has two children, and seven grand children, (6 boys and a girl). He attends church service every Sunday, and is an encouragement to those who know him. He is held with the highest regard among the Tongan community.

Mālō e lelei - hello (lit. congrat. on being well, the being in good health is worthy of gratitude)

Fēfē hake? - how are you? (fēfē means how, hake is idiomatic with fēfē)

Sai pē - just fine


http://youtu.be/H8Gbk4i41_M

Tonga might well be that island in the sun.

Island In The Sun lyrics
Songwriters: Belafonte, Harry; Burgess, Irving;

Oh island in the sun
Built to me by my father's hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest waters, your shining sand

As morning breaks, the Heaven on high
I lift my heavy load to the sky
Sun comes down with a burning glow
Mingles my sweat with the earth below

Oh island in the sun
Built to me by my father's hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest waters, your shining sand

I see woman on bended knee

Cutting cane for her family
I see man at the water-side
Casting nets at the surfing tide

Oh island in the sun
Built to me by my father's hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest waters, your shining sand

I hope the day will never come
When I can't awake to the sound of drum
Never let me miss carnival
With calypso songs philosophical





http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/

4 comments:

Murthy said...

Great post.

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful post and photos. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your week ahead!

carol l mckenna said...

Such festive photos and wonderful post about the event ~

Happy Week to you ~ ^_^

Joyful said...

I love the Pacific Islander cultures and once went to a Pacific Island Festival in northern Australia (Townsland). Apparently the festival is held every other year and there were many people from all over the Pacific Islands. Such fun. George sounds like a very inspiring man.