It provided a platform for our students to celebrate their culture and the purpose was to ultimately build relationships through understanding and connection. Developing an understanding of the different perspectives and values held by Pasifika parents and families is key to building relationships: “Pacific parents believed it was important that school staff, particularly teachers, had some understanding about working with Pacific families. Where teachers had an understanding of the different Pacific ethnicities and values, it was easier for Pacific parents to develop relationships with the school”. Ero article 2008
The Pasifika parents and students shared their culture through dance, music and food. The Pasifika Parents Advisory Committee, Māori and Pasifika Student Panel and key staff worked tirelessly to plan and ensure we held an inclusive Fia Fia night for all and everyone who attended was fully immersed in the special spirit of Polynesia.
It was great to see the King’s College Chamber Choir join in the celebrations singing Tofa my feleni arranged by our very own Choir Director Steven Rapana. The Cook Islands performance was done by Niki Smith (Year 12, Middlemore) who danced beautifully to a special song composed by her mother Katrina Smith.
The graceful Tongan tau’olunga was danced by Middlemore students Fahina Likiliki (Year 12, Middlemore) and Malu Kanongata’a-Suisuiki (Year 13, Middlemore) and the boys Mako faiva (Tongan war dance) was led out by Lotima Pome’e (Year 13, Averill) and Taniela Ngata (Year 12, Parnell). Our Fijian Dance was superb and organised by Richard Hatch and our Cook Island drumbeats resonated throughout the venue where students invited teachers and guests to dance and join in the fun. The last Siva Samoa was led by Setai Setoga (Year 13, Taylor) and Malu Kanongata’a-Suisuiki where they danced with such grace, beauty and strength to end the night.
We also had senior students Daniel Pulotu McCarthy (Year 13, Parnell), Sam Annandale (Year 13, Parnell), Setai Setoga and Raniera Whiu (Year 13, Parnell) running the show for the night. The Pasifika Parent committee organised delicious food which was well loved by all, and we had the PA system and impressive band provided by the Affirming Works team.
We were grateful to have Sia Tonga who enhanced the atmosphere with her dynamic and charismatic MC’ing skills and it was a special treat to be entertained by her daughters The Tonga Sisters visiting from Oahu Hawaii who were here for the Young, Free and Pacific conference.
We hope King’s College gained an insight into our cultures and look forward to working more closely with the school to provide an inclusive space for all our Pasifika students to thrive.