Auckland based Aualuma and Aumaga a Malaeola is getting attention from as far away as the United States.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
There’s global interest in a Samoan youth programme introducing children to customary ways, even before it is launched.
Aualuma and Aumaga a Malaeola is based in Auckland, and is the first program of its kind catering to young people 11 years and older.
It teaches children the traditional ways of Samoan life dating back some 3,000 years.
The official launch of Aualuma and Aumaga a Malaeola will be on 24 June at the Malaeola Hall in Mangere.
To’aiga’otumua Musuiaiga Neil Tapu-Sitagata, the lead facilitator for the programme, says in Samoan culture they can't go forward without the blessings of parents, the church and community leaders.
Faifeau (church ministers), community leaders from the North Shore to Papakura, friends and family will all be attending the event.
The regional sports trust Harbour Sport has given $10,000 to help with the cost of the program.
Tapu-Sitagata says the funding from the trust is important.
“I've done nothing like this before. They made the process very easy and we are so blessed to have this come through as we prepare for our launch and trip to the USA.”
The trip to the United States is a key part of the programme’s future.
Tapu-Stigata says they were contacted by an American entertainment group called Tamaalii Dance who saw their program on social media.
“They've reached out and are really interested in it and really want it over there,
so we are now trying to put plans in place to make it happen.
“We're in partnership with other Samoan advocates in the States, we have a partnership with the Tamaalii Dance entertainment crew in Arizona.”
Tapu-Sitagata wants to see others involved as well.
“We really want our young people to take the lead and to be the facilitators over in the U.S.
"This is the first time, this is a guinea pig platform.
“Hang tight, we now see how it works, and we now see the expenses and time that goes into it, I promise to bring it out into the community to access."
Tapu-Stigata says they need to ensure the program is successful, that it supports everyone who wants to join, and that the young people are really enjoying it.
“Hand on heart, I can say that is a long-term goal for us to push this programme into the community.”
Hero Image: Aualuma and Aumaga a Malaeola is based in Auckland, and is the first program of its kind catering to young people 11 years and older. Photo/Grace Tinetali-Fiavaai