Malo le soifua, Talofa lava, Taloha ni, Kia orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Namaste, Ni sa bula, and warm Pacific greetings.
Welcome to the Pacific side of Taumata Rau. In this special issue, we tell the stories of our people, for I have found it to be the best way to reconnect to our cultures; to reform our identities and relearn much of what we thought was lost to colonisation.
Our people walk between worlds, whether it be Fa’a Samoa, Te Ao Māori, Anga fakatonga, or the Western world. We all come from several Pacific backgrounds, with many of us laying our roots across communities within Tāmaki Makaurau. Whether it be the central suburbs of Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, the Southside communities of Māngere and Manukau, or the Western streets of Avondale and Rānui.
As Pacific Islanders who have grown up in Aotearoa, we are often made to feel like we are small, that we are a part of only a tiny community within Tāmaki Makaurau. That because our islands are small, we are too. But the truth is, Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world and we have so much to offer.
Many Māori and Pacific Island people grow up and are made to think they are dumb; that they are stupid; a mindset that invades the minds of many Māori and Pacific Island kids. Part of our challenge as Polynesians is acknowledging how great we are because we ARE great. Pacific Islanders have a deep history of being creative, imaginative, and innovative. From the sails that brought us to Aotearoa to the art made by the new generation. Our people are powerful beyond measure.
While we acknowledge those who came before us, we have got a generation growing up in New Zealand who want to be more than just what has gone before them. We, the next generation, now have the ability to create and tell a new story for ourselves. Us, the urban Pacific Islander deciding what it means to be Pacific Islander for ourselves. As we tell this new story; we are able to develop our cultures and evolve our identities.
New Zealand is crying out for more of our people in every facet of society, whether it be health, law, politics, or science. My hope is that Māori and Pacific people studying here at the University of Auckland are able to evolve beyond the factory floor. To be in positions to make important decisions. To be more than what our parents had to endure.
You should all be proud. To be here, to make it into a tertiary education institution that wasn’t made with us in mind. We were not meant to make it this far. Our people exist at the intersections of so much trauma and so much pain. Yet, Māori and Pacific Islanders are still here, still fighting, and we will continue to do so, for we have come too far not to go further; we have done too much, to not do more. We are rich in heart, rich in love, and rich in culture.
This is the second edition of Taumata Rau, and my hope is that it will be the second of many more.
The purpose of life is a life with a purpose. So, I’d rather die for a cause, than live a life that is worthless
Hei konā mai, Aere rā, nāku iti noa, nā
Omni Arona (he/him)
Acting Pasifika Editor