June 1st and all is still across the nation. Not a creature is stirring…okay – who am I kidding? The roosters have been crowing all bloody night and all bloody morning – I’m sure in Samoa. It’s still Sunday in Samoa while I, Tamavalevale, enter this post from the comforts of my heated room in ‘freezing cold’ New Zealand.
Very little has happened within New Zealand’s Samoan community to celebrate the Independence (TuToatasi) of our mother country (for many of us, our mother’s and father’s country and for some of us still – it’s our mother’s mother’s father’s father’s mother’s mother’s father’s sister’s mother’s country.) It just so happens also, that New Zealand celebrates the Queen’s Birthday on this day as well (even though the queen of England’s birthday is actually on April 21st) and so it makes this day a national holiday.
Some Samoans (usually, the same ones every year) gather at the Malaeola Hall in Mangere to watch the Samoan flag raising ceremony (which by the way, it’s the same flag that flies on the pole every other day) done by either a visiting dignitary or the current Miss Samoa NZ, and then attendees make a hasty retreat into the hall for warmth and performances from church choirs, youth groups and the long tatalo’s by the most senior of all visiting church pastors and priests at the beginning, middle (for the food) and the end (which usually is said with only 30 people remaining in the hall…cleaners mostly). Given good weather, usually somewhere in Auckland, a Samoan kilikiti tournament is being held….and that’s Samoa’s Independence day celebrated in New Zealand.
Celebrations in Samoa however, is understood to be full of pomp and circumstance formalities and performances, but not of the same calibre as the Teuila Festival held each year at the end of August/beginning of September.
All in all, this has been another holiday spent at home cooking American style breakfast for family who decided to camp the night in my living room depriving me of my self-planned ‘all night’ movie night.
IA MANUIA LE TUTOATASI O SAMOA! FAAVAE LE ATUA SAMOA!