Category Archives: Tongan

Why My Voice Should Count For More Than One Vote

Black and white hand drawn comic with 12 men and one woman sitting around a table. All of the men are looking at the woman. Text reads, "Well, you're the only one who thinks we're a sexist organisation."

This comic has appeared in my newsfeed several times in the last week. It captures what many of us feel when we are the minority in any given situation. It captures the overwhelming feeling of loneliness when faced with the contrast of your difference. It captures why I don’t want a seat at the table.

Continue reading

Two Polynesians Walk into a Bar…

“Two Polynesians Walk into a Bar…”

It sounds like the start of a joke, but this incident is far from funny. If you’re of Pasifika decent and living in the US, you’ve probably already heard about Willie’s – the bar in Utah that reserves the right to refuse to serve alcohol to Polynesian men. I watched this video yesterday, and was definitely taken aback by the idea that the staff was instructed specifically not to serve “Polynesians.” As one of my Utah-based friends so eloquently said yesterday, “I didn’t know I lived south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Or maybe it’s 1960?” Seriously. It’s 2016. And in 2016 people are being refused service based on ethnicity. Houston, we have a problem. Continue reading

Project ‘Ofa Atu: The Path of Love in the Wake of Tragedy

ofa atu main

In the wake of tragedy, many paths open up to us. Our reactions in vulnerable times sometimes send us down a destructive path because we are too steeped in our own pain, fear, and sadness to recognize where the path we’ve chosen will ultimately lead. Often, we react in fear and pull inward, rooting ourselves in mentalities of scarcity, attitudes of exclusion, fear mongering propensities. We’re seeing this today in the attitudes of many people following the acts of terror and tragedy that are occurring more and more frequently. In this tense and scary climate, people seem less inclined to show love and extend olive branches of peace right now, and in the aftermath of the unthinkable, I think that it is natural to want to turn away, to want to rid your circle of others who seem unlike you in some key way. It’s natural to choose isolation and to allow anger and fear to guide your actions. But, is it right? Continue reading

For Those Left Behind

Let’s talk about supporting the women and children left behind when a man goes to prison, shall we? Today seems like a good day to do it. I didn’t sleep much last night, and I woke from my fitful rest with a heavy heart and a mind full of memories. Yesterday two families experienced a tragedy – one man’s life lost and another man’s life forever altered as the result of a deadly fight. Continue reading

‘Children are a heritage of the Lord.’

Content Warning – sexual abuse, discussion of HOW to prevent abuse esp within a Samoan/Pasifika context.

When I was twenty, I told my husband Darren, something I’d never told anybody else. I told him that when I was little, somebody over time, had done bad things to me. Then they threatened me. They said, ‘don’t tell anyone or you’ll be in big trouble.

I was scared, sore and ashamed. I was seven. I believed him. Continue reading

It Takes a Village: Why I Cried the “Ugly Cry” this Mother’s Day

Yesterday I got a Mother’s Day card from my son, Ovaka, and I cried the ugly cry. You know the one I’m talking about – where you gasp for breath and your face contorts into what can only be described as gargoyle-esque deformity and snot drips liberally down your face. I was alone, thank goodness, when I opened the card, but just thinking about it makes tears spring to my eyes at the most inconvenient times. I miss my son. Continue reading