Tautai O Le Moana – Malaga to Samoa 2023

Photo: Tautai Malaga to Samoa ?? 2023
On Sunday 27 August 12 Principals travelled to Samoa as part of the Tautai O Le Moana programme they have been involved in for the past 2 years. Tautai o le Moana – Wayfinders of the Ocean is a professional development that focusses on an Inquiry into our educational leadership through a Pacific Lens. A Tautai is a sea captain that can sail in many surf conditions beyond the horizons and is confident to lose sight of land. Someone that can read the winds, the currents, the stars, bird migration and ocean driftwood to know of his/her whereabouts and where to sail. She or he can bring people together, use the strengths of those on board to meet their needs as well as achieve the agreed goals of the expedition. We have used this analogy and pacific understanding to create a programme that focusses on building and strengthening the pasifika capability of Principals who engage and decide to take this journey. This programme was developed in partnership between NZ Pasifika Principals Association (NZPPA), NZ Principals Federation (NZPF) and the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The Malaga (trip) to Samoa was organised by the Tautai O Le Moana – Auckland 2022 cohort as a way of further developing their cultural competence of things Pasifika. The participants on the trip were:

  • Karl Vasau – Principal Rowandale School – Tautai Facilitator
  • Saane Faaofo-Oldehaver – Principal Weymouth School – President NZPPA
  • Leanne Otene – Principal Manaia View School – President NZPF
  • Faatili Iosua Esera – Principal Sutton Park School – Chairperson Tautai O Le Moana Board
  • Paul Pirihi – Principal Rosebank School – Tautai Auckland 2022 Cohort
  • Zane Wilson – Principal Takapuna Normal Intermediate – Tautai Auckland 2022 Cohort
  • Christina Patea – Principal Homai School – Tautai Auckland 2022 Cohort
  • Kathy Davidson – Principal Sir Keith Park School – Tautai Auckland 2022 Cohort
  • Mary Zelman – Principal St Paul’s School Massey – Tautai Auckland 2022 Cohort
  • Angelina Brayne – Deputy Principal St Paul’s School Massey
  • Lesley Mitchell – Principal Dominion Rd School – Tautai Auckland 2022 Cohort
  • Sue Smith – Principal Upper Harbour School – Tautai Auckland 2022 Cohort

On Arrival we checked into our home for the next we “Amanaki Hotel” and from the outset we knew that this venue would help build the connection of the participants and also be a safe home away from home.

Monday 28 August

Photo: Vaiala Beach School – Malaga to Samoa ?? 2023
Photo: Vaiala Beach School – Malaga to Samoa ?? 2023

Today started with an early Breakfast and then a short bus ride to Vaiala Beach School. Once there our group was greeted by the founder and owner of the school Lorraine Williams and Principal Tala. We were then welcome in a full school assembly and 2 student leaders formally welcomed us and we enjoyed an opportunity to introduce ourselves to the students and staff. A highlight was we were included in their flag raising ceremony and listen to the remainder of their formalities.

After assembly we were welcomed to visit the classes and get a chance to meet students and staff as part of their normal day. The school was preparing for their cultural night and we got the chance to see the different classes prepare for their item. The Maori was was exceptional and our own Leanne helped them with some tips and actions. What was special was seeing how each group fully embraced the diversity and new learning associated with their chosen culture and this was a reflection of the culture in the school.

To finish off the visit we were then given an opportunity to present all the amazing gifts and resources we brought from our schools to the school and then share in a yummy morning tea. Vaiala Beach School was taken a back by our generosity and are excited about where this new partnership will take us.

Photo: Tautai cooling down – Malaga to Samoa ?? 2023

In the afternoon we went back to the hotel to cool down and change and then we visited the Apia Markets and look at and bought a number of arts and crafts and then share in some yummy street food – Bread fruit, luau, faiai and a nice cold niu. We concluded our little stop in the city with a visit to the Catholic Cathedral and were blown away by its beauty, reverence and architecture.

Dinner was at Amanaki and we then also enjoyed some of the night life on offer with a little trip to Teumasina Resort for their Karaoke Night.

Tuesday 29 August

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana Malaga to Samoa ?? – Satitoa Primary School

Today started early with a breakfast at the Amanaki Hotel and then we hit the road to travel across to Satitoa Primary School. This trip took our group through some of the most damaged areas from the 2009 Tsunami and it was just amazing to see how the people of Samoa had bounced back. This meant for the school which was totally devastated up the tsunami, having to be moved from the old site to a new site inland.

We were welcomed to the school by the village elders, chiefs and the school PTA in a formal Samoa Ava Ceremony. For many of our group this was the first time they had participated in an Ava ceremony and it was an amazing learning opportunity for them which they embraced fully. After the Ava we were treated to a very yummy morning tea that included many traditional Samoan dishes – all natural and made with love and respect.

Once we finished our morning tea we then spilt into groups and visited the different classrooms. Satitoa Primary has 180 students but only 4 teachers which includes the Principal and so space and resources is at a high demand. What we saw in classrooms was very humbling but also warmed our hearts. Regardless of what they missed in the way of resources or staffing they made up in enthusiasm and a real desire to teach and learn. The school is supported by an amazing PTA and Village and so this was something we will remember and cherish.

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana Malaga to Samoa ?? – Satitoa Primary School
Photo: Tautai O Le Moana Malaga to Samoa ?? – Satitoa Primary School

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana Malaga to Samoa ?? – Satitoa Primary School
Photo: Tautai O Le Moana Malaga to Samoa ?? – Satitoa Primary School

To finish our visit at Satitoa Primary we were spoilt with a special assembly where all the different classes performed for us and then presented special gifts to our group. It was the first time for all our group to witness an Aiava ceremony and this was very moving for all our Principals because this was done with absolute Alofa and given from what they have. We were totally blown away by their generosity and giving and we will never forget that. We presented our gifts of sports equipment, books, resources and yummy lollies as well as our monetary Koha from our group, NZPPA and then a special collection for the speakers. In true Samoan fashion we were then presented with another amazing meal and wow it was all the main popular foods that make Samoa special.

On the way home we stopped in at Lalomanu Beach to cool off before enjoying an amazing meal at Paddles Restaurant. Fantastic Day had by all.

Wednesday 30 August

Photo: View from the Bus on the Ferry to Savaii ??

Today started with a 4am bus ride to the Mulifanua Wharf to catch a ferry to Savaii. It was a smooth sailing over to Savaii where we were scheduled to visit and be hosted by Sapapalii Primary School.

Photo: Sapapalii Primary School Savaii Samoa ??
Photo: Sapapalii Primary School Savaii Samoa ??

When we pulled up to Sapapalii Primary School we were absolutely blown away but the fact that they decorated their school with flags and decorations to mark our visit and also the whole school was on the decks outside their classrooms waving and singing a welcome. We were welcomed by their Principal and then taken to the hall for a traditional Ava Ceremony. The day before we were blessed with an ava ceremony and so all our principals were ready and more prepared for this very solemn and traditional welcome ceremony.

Photo: Sapapalii Primary School Savaii Samoa ??

We then spent time meeting with the Principal and enjoying the amazing and generous morning tea. After this we had an opportunity to visit classrooms and interact with students and teachers. The kids were so enthusiastic and welcoming of our presence and it was clear that these kids loved learning. We even got the opportunity to spend some time with the students during their lunch play and it was great to further talanoa and connect with them.

Photo: Sapapalii Primary School Savaii Samoa – Staff and Tautai Group ??

After lunch we were welcomed back to the hall for entertainment prepared by the students and then again were recipients of an Aiava Ceremony which meant that each family in the village through their children presented us with gifts. We presented our gifts and Koha to the school, village elders and PTA and it was received with thanks and alofa. We were then again blessed with an amazing and yummy lunch which we all enjoyed.

On the way back to the Ferry building we stopped in for a dip to cool down at the Afu Aau waterfall and it was simply breath taking. The ferry home was a bit choppy but none of us were phased because we all had a little nap here and there. Dinner was at a delicious Italian restaurant called Giordano’s.

Thursday 31 August

Photo: Robert Lui Stephenson Museum – Samoa ??

Photo: Piula Swimming Pool – Samoa ??

Photo: Across country road Upolu – Samoa ??

Photo: To Sua Trench – Samoa ??

Photo: Manumea Cultural Feast and Show – Samoa ??

Today was a day dedicated to site seeing and experiencing first hand some of Samoas most sacred and celebrated places. This was a great opportunity for our Malaga Group to further build our relationships with each other and to showcase things that not very Principals in NZ can say they have experienced. Our Principals built a better understanding of culture and identity of the Samoan People. In the evening we enjoyed a yummy samoan feast and cultural show at the Manumea Hotel.

Friday 1 September

Photo: NZPPA, Tautai and NZPF delegation meeting with CEO of Education Department – Samoa ??
Photo: Leanne visiting Peace Chapel School – Samoa ??

Photo: Angelina and Mary Visitng Don Bosco College – Samoa ??
Photo: Paul and Zane checking out some Golf in Apia – Samoa ??
Photo: Lesley meeting up with former students and parents – Samoa ??
Photo: Karl meeting up with Friends and Family – Samoa ??
Photo: Trying to sing along and fit in at JPs Bar lol – Samoa ??

Today was a free day for our Tautai O Le Moana Malaga to Samoa Principals and was spent seeing more sites, golf, massage’s, food, meetings with Government Officials and visiting more schools and friends and family. For our last evening in Samoa we had a beautiful dinner at Amanaki and then travelled out into the night to experience some of the night life in Samoa.

From all accounts this was a very successful and rewarding trip for all our Principals. Tautai O Le Moana is all about Principals wanting to go on a journey towards more culturally responsive practice for their Pasifika students, staff and families. Being able to experience first hand what the realities are for some of their students has ultimately prepared them to captain those waters with more confidence and understanding. We are all thankful to our Boards of Trustees, Tautai O Le Moana, NZ Pasifika Principals Association and NZPF for allowing supporting us to travel to Samoa and experience this amazing Malaga. Special thanks to the amazing people of Samoa especially our Bus Driver (Onolima), Tayla and Lynelle and her staff at Amanaki Hotel. We have built very strong relationships with each other and are now better prepared to take our journey to where ever we desire to take it.