Samoa Language Week 2019

Sunday 26 May – Saturday 1 June

“Lalaga le si’osi’omaga mo se lumana’i manuia”
“Weave an environment for a better future”

The word Lalaga is a Samoan word that denotes the art of weaving. This art form involves strands from one end, interwoven with strands from the other to produce an artefact. This is practised in many Samoan households to produce mats, fans, blinds, thatches, traps, sinnets and bags to name a few. The strands for weaving, be it leaves or fibres, are prepared deliberately with the predetermined purpose in mind. Other materials are now used for weaving but the process remains the same.

The theme encompasses an ancient art form with a contemporary view on overall well-being. It asks schools especially to have aspects of individual well-being be interwoven to form a school environment safe for all. This incorporates mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of individuals as critical to the establishment and maintenance of an environment. The theme aims to heighten awareness of the co-dependence of individual well-being and the environment. The success of the individuals is dependent on the environment, and the overall environment is dependent on people. Children learn best in schools where they are valued and their cultural values, beliefs and aspirations are woven together in to the school environment.

 

Weaving communities

Weaving people appears strange, but is a concept common in many cultures and Samoa is the same. Weaving together the strengths people bring often means project and events that originally viewed as unsurmountable are achieved or completed with ease. In establishing a community like a school, the aspirations, values, beliefs of those who are part of the school need to be reflected in the lived life of the school. These are considered critical in growing a school environment that offers total wellness to every student. Students whose values, aspirations and culture are reflected and are the lived values of the school, have a higher likelihood of success.

 

Samoans And Aotearoa

The exposure of Samoa to European cultures mainly German and British in the 1830s was the start of other values and ways of thinking being introduced to Samoa. The influence of New Zealand and the United States on Samoan way of living, started the change. The demand for cheap labour and military personnel saw an acceleration of overseas migration to these countries in the 1940s. In trying to start a new life in foreign lands they clustered themselves to form church communities weaving together the strands of faith, respect, service, and Samoan values. Some from the same village, district or island formed themselves in to communities to support each other and their people at home. As Aotearoa New Zealand economy boomed in the 1960s, Samoans were enticed over to plant pine forests, work on the waterfronts, manned many freezing work plants and other manual employment. From 1940 to mid 1960s, Samoa lost many of its youths, men and women to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Minimal Success

Although New Zealand Samoans’ contribution to the New Zealand economy is calculated to be around four billion dollars annually, economic and social successes for Samoans have been minimal. This is due largely to the under performance of New Zealand education to make learning happen for Samoans over the years, and the lack of political will to invest in education success for Samoans. The inequities there have been and are in the system have conspired to make Samoan success rate as one of the lowest of all the identified minority groups in New Zealand education. The accumulative effect of minimal education success means that Samoans are highly represented in those, with low income, poor health, in prison or unemployed.

 

Alignment

The theme is closely aligned to the government’s wishes for individual well-being to be at the heart of policy formation in many ministries and social services. As mental health among our youths continues to be an area of serious concern, schools need to make the overall well-being of students a focus for strengthening and weaving together an environment fit for all. The Children’s Commissioner continues to put children’s well-being in the public arena, and the government wishes to reduce poverty, FAGASA Incorporated hopes that the theme for Samoa Language Week 2019, will add value to addressing child poverty, mental health and self harm among our youths. It aligns well with the Ministry of Pacific People and its vision of lifting success and overall well-being of Pacific people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Ministry of Education re-energised call to address inequities in New Zealand schools and education system.

Conclusion

Equitable learning opportunities will be the norm if students overall well-being is at the heart of weaving the school environment. Academic success for Samoan students is highly likely if Samoa language and culture are principal components of delivering education for Samoans. The celebration of Samoa Language Week 2019 will convey a strong message to Samoan students and their families that their language and culture, matter at our school.

 

A saying/proverb a day for 2019

1. Ia ō gatasi le futia ma le umele.
May the essential components, be of equal strengths.

2. Ia soso’o le fau ma le fau.
Allow two of equal strengths, follow each other.

3. O le aso ma le filiga, o le aso ma le mata’iga tila.
A day to focus on the job at hand, another to reflect.

4. A malu i fale, e malu i fafo.
Respect yourself and others will.

5. E tua le fale tele i le faleo’o.
Even the mighty, needs others.

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