Tag Archives: Weaving a tuiga

Plastic Samoans

Winning the Sydney Telesa Spirit Women Art Competition with Lani Wendt Young
2012 winner of the Sydney Telesa Spirit Women Art Competition.

Wondering to myself how a plastic Samoan weaves her life into what it is now.

Plastic Samoan is not a nice reference in a nasty context. I use, “plastic Samoan” in distinguishing something for myself. I am no longer the immature black and white mind of a confused teenager. I am an open space. It allows me the freedom to weave with my hands and my mind.

Born in Samoa entitles me the rights of being a real Samoan, right?
Raised in New Zealand from the age of five exposed my mind to the unfair divide between black and white. Hearing conversations as absolute irrefutable truth in my community proved it so.

So it was.

It is true! A real Samoan has to work twice as hard because the world is unjust and unfair.

Being half caste (half Samoan and half palagi (white)) gives you a straight up silver spoon in your mouth. Half castes got some half privileges by default or mysterious osmosis.

This was my truth. This was my perception. This was how I acted. This was my world.

Being plastic meant, not real, a wanna(want to)be Samoan but white or vice versa Samoan but wanna be white. NOT ME. I was real to the bone because I was born on the land. I forgave you for not being born on the land if you were not wanna be white. I forgot. If you are related to me, you were in the safe zone too on my plastic radar.

And PLEASE. Can you not speak Samoan like the white man when you look like a Samoan.

Teenage minds do not need the points of views of a confused world. This is what I have distinguished. I give space to my children to see the world as their world. Contributing to their world creates the world they want for themselves.

Space to dissect and learn for themselves. Free of adult truths. Adults are children who age in numbers and years. Maturity is the age of wisdom and knowledge of life long learning.

Enter the age of political correctness and understanding overstatement. Cautioning against certain words such as black and white. Words only have power in a context. Words hurt and kill off when they are given reason to. Your context gives meaning and energises your words. Words in themselves do not make you feel or do anything.

FACT:No thing or person can MAKE you do anything.

Look at the intentions not the dots on the i’s and crosses on t’s of otherwise meaningless words.

Straying now Maureen. Back to being plastic. Yes, this is my point.

Comically, I realise that after all these years, I am a “plastic Samoan”. Birth and an average command of the mother tongue hardly qualifies my superior “Samoan-ness” to any other fellow Samoan.

My siblings and I were not raised in the practise of Samoan customs and traditions. My parents migrated to New Zealand with one very CLEAR objective. Education. I assert it was the same for many. Thank you for the opportunity of Western education.

Evolution over my long (almost) 40 year life has seen some collapse in customs and traditions, in my unqualified plastic opinion. Western influence a major player with no innocent pawns in this game. Evolution with an agenda. Everyone is innocent. No one is responsible.

Confronting yet no longer confused is my current perspective of the state of affairs that I am eagerly unravelling. Weaving is my current vehicle and self expression on so many levels.

Straying again Maureen. Lets lock this weaving up.

Tuiga weaving Elements of a Warrior
My winning entry for the Sydney Telesa Spirit Women Art Competition.

I am unravelling the beauty of my Samoan culture by embracing it’s evolution in a contemporary form.

A plastic Samoan can weave her own culture using contemporary ribbon. It is my “Samoan” and it is evolving with a transparent agenda. Love and fulfilment.