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Samoan Language Week

03 Jun 2020
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*English version below.

O se leo masani i le talafatai o Magele, i taeao uma i le polokalame o le taeao a le 531 PI, o le Susuga ia Ma’a Brian Sagala. Sa feiloa’i ma le Susuga ia Ma’a mo se talatalanoaga fa’avavevave e  uiga i le Vaiaso o le Ggana Samoa.

Se’i fa’amatala mai pe na fa’apefea ona avea oe, o se tama Aorere, ma tautai o le polokalame o le taeao a le 531 PI.

Na ou fanau ma tuputupu a’e i Porirua ma ou sifi mai i Magele i le 1988 a’o 18 o’u tausaga. O le vaitaimi foi lea na fa’aaoga ai lo’u igoa o Brian, a sui le mea e nofo ai e tatau foi ona sui le igoa (‘ata) Ua atoa nei le 5 tausaga o fai a’u ma tautai o le polokalame o le taeao a le 531 PI. O le avanoa na maua mai a’o  o’u faia galuega fa’a – MC. Ua leva ona ou faia galuega fa’a – MC mo le sili atu i le 20 tausaga, i Niu Sila ma atunu’u i fafo.

O a ni vaega e tatau ai ona fa’atauaina ai le gagana Samoa i totonu o le aiga fa’apea foi le lautele?

Ou te manatu e mana’omia tele le lagolagoina o le gagana Samoa i so’o se vaega o le olaga, aua o lau gagana o lou fa’asinomaga lea. 

O le tatou gagana Samoa ua aofia i gagana o le kelope ma le lalolagi atoa, ma e matua taua tele i fanau o lo’o fananau ma ola i Niu Sila, ona a’oa’o ma tau’ave pea aga a o tatou tua’a ua mavae. E matua tatau foi i tua’a ma matua, ona fa’asoa mai lo latou iloa i le gagana ma le aganu’u fa’asamoa, i tupulaga o aso nei.

E tautatala fa’asamoa lou aiga i le fale?

Leai e le o lava le fa’asamoa a lo’u aiga i le fale. O le mea lena ua ou salamo ai tele, ona ou te le’i a’oa’oina le fa’asamoa i la’u fanau. Na ou fa’apea, e a’oa’o mai lava e latou mai mafutaga ma aiga ma isi tagata, ae peita’i ane, e le o  o’o lo latou malamalama i le tulaga e tatau ona iai. 

Ae ua avea lenei lesona ma lenei  taimi fa’apitoa ma lo’u aiga, e talatalanoa ai fa’asamoa ma le fanau. Ou te matua talitonu o le a’oa’oina o le fa’asamoa i le fanau, o se meaalofa  taua tele e tatau lava ona ave ia i latou.

O le a se ki o le fa’atauaina pea o le gagana ma le aganu’u fa’asamoa i Magele?

O le ki lava o le su’e o so’o se avanoa e ono maua e fa’aaoga ai le gagana. O le fa’ata’ita’iga o le Covid 19 ua maua ai le avanoa e fa’aaoga ai e tagata matutua Samoa auala fa’atekonolosi, e pei o le Zoom ma le facebook,  e feso’ota’i ai ma isi.

E mafai foi ona fa’aaoga le leitio Samoa, ma fa’atau tusi faigofie fa’asamoa, e a’oa’oina ai le fanau. Ae le o lava auala e a’oa’o ai le fa’asamoa, ma e mana’omia pea ni tusi e a’oa’o lelei ai le tatou gagana. Ia feso’ota’i atili foi e augatupulaga matutua ma le fanau, ina ia fa’aauau pea le tomai mai i matua e tupulaga o i luma.

Ou te manatu e tele tagata e mama e tautala i le gagana Samoa, aua latou te le tautatala so’o ai, ma e le lelei foi le latou fa’aleoina o upu. O se mea matua fiafia tele ia te a’u, pe afai e fa’amalosia e i latou o lo’o lelei le tautatala i le gagana, tagata o lo’o taumafai e a’oa’o le tatou gagana. ‘Aua le ula ma talie iai, ae fa’amalosi iai ma fai iai e a’oa’o pea, ina ia lelei le latou tautala fa’asamoa.

O le a se mea e taua tele ia te oe e uiga i tagata ma le aganu’u fa’asamoa?

E taua tele le va fealoa’i, o se mea matua matagofie tele i la’u va’ai i le tagata Samoa – o lou iloa lea o oe, o lou tulaga i le va ma isi i totonu o lou aiga, lau ekalesia, fa’apotopotoga o tagata Samoa, fa’apea foi ma tagata lautele. O le mea moni lava, o le ki i le malamalama’aga o nei mea uma, o le gagana. O le gagana Samoa, o le ki lea e fa’amalamalama ma iloa ai feso’ota’iga ma isi, i le mafaufau fa’asamoa lava. 

E matua manaia tele ia te a’u, le ‘oa ma le tamao’aiga o le gagana Samoa, e fa’afilemu ma to’a ai lou agaga, ma fai ma fa’asinoala mo se olaga manuia. Ou te talitonu foi e iai le malosi o le tatou gagana Samoa, e fa’atonutonu ai tagata i le mea e tatau ona fai. E avea pei o se moli i le pogisa. 

O le mea mulimuli lava, ta’u mai se alaga’upu fa’asamoa e te fiafia iai ma lona uiga fa’amolemole.

Ole ala i le pule o le tautua” o lona uiga o le auala e avea ai oe ma ta’ita’i, o le ‘au’auna. O le auala foi lea e te iloa ai le agaga maualalo, ma le ta’ita’iina lelei o isi tagata. 

English Version

A familiar voice in the Mangere community is local host of 531 PI breakfast radio, Ma’a Brian Sagala. We caught up with Ma’a for a quick chat in honour of Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa (Samoa Language Week).

Tell us how you became an Aorere local and well-known host of the 531 breakfast radio show?

I was born and raised in Porirua and moved to Mangere in 1988 when I was 18. It was at about that time that I also began using my middle name Brian alongside my given first name. I’ve been a breakfast show host for NiuFM, and have emceed nationwide, but typically there’s not a lot of work around to promote the use of Samoan language and culture, except within my own Samoan circles.

What do you think are the positive benefits of embracing Samoan language at home and in the community? 

I think there’s an absolute need to support Samoan language and culture in all aspects of our lives, because to know your language and culture is to know your identity. 

Samoan is now a global language and it’s especially important for NZ born Samoan children to remain connected to their ancestral links. We really need to ensure our older generations are passing cultural knowledge and language down to following generations deliberately and intentionally.

Does your family speak Samoan home?

We do, however a big regret that I have in raising my own children is that I didn’t teach them to speak Samoan at home. I think perhaps I took for granted that they would just ‘learn’ it through being connected to our family and social circles but they don’t understand it as well as they could. 

However, this life lesson has given me an opportunity and now I’m actively encouraging Samoan conversations with my kids to help them learn. I have so much respect for the importance of Samoan language and it’s an absolutely priceless gift to be able to give our children. 

What’s the key to keeping Samoan language and culture alive in the Mangere community?

I think it’s really about finding any opportunity to use the language. Covid-19 has really increased the use of Samoan language in the digital space which has been awesome, and it’s also been great for older Samoan generations to engage on platforms that they’ve probably never had to use before like Zoom and Facebook.

People can always tune into Samoan radio shows too, and they can invest in local Samoan language books for children to help them learn at an early age.

We do have Samoan language resources available, but I think we still need a greater number of them and more accessibility. Families have a responsibility to seek out these resources, to embrace Samoan culture within their homes and to connect young learners with older generations to keep our ancestry alive. 

As individuals, I think some people are ‘whakama’ because they don’t speak the language and often, they are ‘whakama’ because their pronunciation is inadequate. I’d love to see those who are fluent in Samoan, supporting and encouraging those who are not natural speakers. Let’s not make fun and discourage anyone who is trying to learn the language but instead let’s encourage them to learn and become better speakers. 

What do you love most about the Samoan community or Samoan culture?

Va (relationships) is a beautiful part of being Samoan—that is, knowing who you are, knowing your place, and knowing where you stand in relation to your family, your church, your community and in society. And of course understanding all of this requires ‘language’ as the key. Language is the key to relationships, and this is very much part of the Samoan DNA.

I love that our language is rich in meaning, which is soothing for the soul and can serve as a guide for living a good life. I believe Samoan language has the power to act as a psychological intervention that helps point people in the right direction, it’s like a light in the darkness.

Finally, can you tell us your favourite Samoan proverb and what it means?

ole alai le pule o le tautua” which means, “the pathway to leadership is through service” and when said in Samoan is a great teacher of humility and leadership.