Lana Lopesi: Is my identity in my DNA?

My family has no real secrets – that I know of, anyway. Mum and Dad are both my birth-parents. I know for sure because they look like me and have all the right paperwork. So that means I’m definitely Samoan-Canadian (among other things). I have no reason to question any of that. My daughter likewise is definitely mine. I know because I gave birth to her and her dad is her birth father. I know that too, because I just do. I’m… Read more

The race to digitise language records of the Pacific region before it is too late

A suitcase of reel-to-reel audio tapes arrived recently at the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. They were from Madang, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), were made in the 1960s and some contain the only known records of some of the languages of PNG. There are very few records of most of the 800 or so languages in PNG, so every new resource is important. Languages are complex systems that encode… Read more

Marami Stephens: We need to hear Māori and Pacific voices on the euthanasia debate

There is a tin. It looks like Nana’s biscuit tin, but is actually the tin from which private members’ bills are drawn from the ballot every second Wednesday of the month in parliament. If we were to see inside the tin on such a Wednesday, we would see roughly 80 numbered plastic tiles, each one identifying an MP’s private bill waiting to see the light of day. Many of them won’t. Private members’ bills provide… Read more

Debunking common myths about raising bilingual children

By the age of two, children are typically able to say a few hundred words. My son, Alexander, was able to understand almost everything in both languages – Greek and English – but he could say only six words. Our concerns grew as we watched younger kids overtake his speaking ability. Like many parents, we questioned if we were doing something wrong (even experts can’t escape the fear and guilt that comes with being… Read more

Pala Molisa: White Ribbon — too white and too polite

Anti-violence campaigns like White Ribbon are all about men being “part of the solution”. Around White Ribbon Day each November, for example, men are encouraged to “Take the Pledge”, go on anti-violence marches, and do more to speak out against the crisis of male violence against women. And fair enough, too, because this crisis is one of the most important we face as a society. In New Zealand, a third of all women… Read more

Victor Rodger: Let’s get real about diversity

We’re streets ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to diversity on screen and stage, writes the award-winning playwright Victor Rodger. But that’s not where it counts the most. Diversity. It’s really just a euphemism that some cultural spin-doctor fabricated so people had an alternative to saying “not white”. That’s what people really mean when they use the term diversity. They’re talking about… Read more

Eliota: Sad days at Auckland Grammar

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, who’s 35, has been making his name as a rugby player for more than 20 years — as a Manurewa junior, then in the 1st XV for Auckland Grammar, in 23 test matches for Manu Samoa (including the 2007 and 2011 World Cups), as a professional in the UK for Bath (43 games) and Gloucester (54), and in Japan for the Coca Cola West Red Sparks. It has been an outstanding career. But he has made many more headlines… Read more

You can’t paint the Pacific with just one brush stroke

Teresia Teaiwa is a poet and award-winning teacher at Victoria University, where she lectures in Pacific Studies — a field she’s described as “literally oceanic in proportions”, covering a region with 1,200 indigenous languages and 20,000 islands spread over a third of the earth’s surface. Here, she talks to Dale, about the complexities of the Pacific, why Pacific Studies matters, and her own complicated… Read more