Jarome Luai and the Power of Words

All eyes were on Toa Samoa when they were making moves on the world stage. Parades were formed, tickets bought, and an entire nation scattered across the globe came together to cheer on their team. But just as quick as everyone in the islander community came together to cheer on the guys, they were just as quick to bring one of the team players down.

About two days ago, many tuned in to see star player, Brian To’o marry the love of his life. In what was a sweet ceremony and enjoyable reception, turned very cringe. Jerome Luai, the best man and teammate, stood up to give a memorable speech worthy of the Duckrockers. A day later, Luai did issue an apology via Instagram. See the picture below.

While much of the criticism is warranted, in the opinion of this author, some of it is just absolutely ridiculous. So let’s dive in on a few things that have come from this situation.

Continue reading “Jarome Luai and the Power of Words”

Pasifika Pride: Pele Vaimoso

During the beginnings of Sipping Koko, I was searching for Pasifika podcasts that I could listen to and learn from. It was on For the Qultures that I listened to an episode with a guest who shared his story of what it’s like to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Pele Vaimoso spoke from the heart, and from that episode, I have learned so much from him. He has an amazing podcast called Queer Coco that you definitely need to check out! I’m honored to help share a bit of his story here.

PRIDE in Self Worth

I’m so proud of myself for not letting other people’s insecurities about my sexuality define me. I dictate who, what and where I want to be and there’s nothing more liberating after being told that YOU ARE NOT WORTHY.

Continue reading “Pasifika Pride: Pele Vaimoso”

Empowered Pasifika Women: Anamalia Su’esu’e

Something I’ve learned through this series is the amazing passion our women have for preserving our culture and passing it on to the next generation. One of those wonderful women is Anamalia Su’esu’e and here’s her story.

Empowered Through Cultural Preservation

Born and raised in Hawai’i to Su’esu’e and Lynda Su’esu’e, I’m the oldest of three girls. I’m forever grateful for the life my parents provided for us. My father came to Hawai’i in the 70s from Utulei, American Samoa. He later met my mother, an Italian/Polish woman from Long Island, New York, at Job Corps in Waimanalo. Fast forward some decades later and I’m now raising my two children near the places I grew up. I work with Le Fetuao Samoan Language Center, a Samoan community based nonprofit here in Hawai’i that offers Samoan language programs for families. I am also finishing my first year of the Psychology MA/PhD program at UH Mānoa. I’m in the Community, Cultural, and Developmental area and would like to explore Samoan identity development in diaspora. Growing up in a multicultural home in Hawai’i has surely shaped my research interests in graduate school. My goals are to develop and implement sustainable programs (maybe even some policies?) within our Samoan and Pasifika communities that support our Pasifika identity development. The way I see it: secure, supported identities = increased well-being.

Continue reading “Empowered Pasifika Women: Anamalia Su’esu’e”

Empowered Pasifika Women: Petrina Wilkinson

No matter where we are in the world, our teachers are under appreciated. There is so much that our teacher sacrifice for their students whether it be their own money, time, etc. That is why I’m very honored to help share Petrina Wilkinson’s story.

Empowered Through Teaching

I am an afakasi (Samoan/New Zealander) who lives in Christchurch. I am a teacher and leader within our school community with a focus on cultural responsiveness. My Mum is Samoan and always inspires us to do the best we can.

Continue reading “Empowered Pasifika Women: Petrina Wilkinson”

Cultural Responsibility of the Famous and Social Media Influencers

Many of you who have read my blog or follow me on social media know that I’m very passionate and protective of our community. Today, I was talking to a friend about a well-known person and a post they made. However, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way they dismissed their behavior or portrayal of our community in the media. And, many of you know I’m pretty open about how I view the responsibility those in the public eye have to our community.

Even as a small creator, I’ve asked that if I’ve ever said or done anything, that you approach me to let me know. I began this journey to learn about our community, the culture, and the traditions. During this time, I’ve learn about our history, our traditions and views before colonization. I’m no expert, but I think I have a pretty good idea of those who would use our culture for clout and those who are truly vested in uplifting the Pasifika voice. Both have the responsibility to future of our community. We are the future ancestors, and it’s time to wake up and see that.

Continue reading “Cultural Responsibility of the Famous and Social Media Influencers”

Loud & proud. Hyena laughing. Brown woman.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, history was made in our community. A show that I’ve been extremely psyched to see dropped, and it has made waves across the world. That show is SIS. It was made by mainly by Pasifika women for our community. For those of us who have been searching for media where we can see ourselves, this is a blessing and something to be proud of. While many have been singing its praises, there are those ready to tear it down. Before I go into that, I want to tell you what I saw.

In summary, I saw a show that makes me feel proud of our heritage. It makes me feel like I can be comfortable in who I am. It showcased not just me, but it showcased me and my cousins hanging out. When I watched the show, I wasn’t watching women and men portraying characters. I was watching my family be authentically themselves. I saw my family and ancestors. Sure, some of it was dramatic, but come on it’s comedy and honestly, our families are filled with drama and laughter. It’s the first time I have watched a show and thought, I finally feel seen. That’s the power this show has. That’s the path this show is creating for our people.

SIS has created a space for me and my cousins to be proud of who we are.

Before you read anymore, this is a SPOILER ALERT. There are different aspects of this show that I’m going to dive into, and I hope you watch the show before reading the rest of this blog.

Continue reading “Loud & proud. Hyena laughing. Brown woman.”

PolyX NZ: Experience the Beauty of Polynesia

In just a few short days, the kickoff to New Zealand’s newest show will happen! Showcasing six Polynesian countries. Plus, if you get the dinner and show ticket, you get to have some of the best food in the entire world. So, what am I talking about? It is PolyX NZ! The Polynesian experience that you don’t want to miss out on if you are in New Zealand or visiting the country.

Continue reading “PolyX NZ: Experience the Beauty of Polynesia”

Pasifika Love Matters: Paul and Mira

Taking a Chance

Paul and I have known each other for a really long time, we grew up in church together as kiddo’s and to this very day we still attend the same church (crazy right). Paul is 3 years older than me so obviously we mingled with our own age group at the time, we never really talked to each other. Being the eldest girl with no older sister to look up to, I became close with Paul’s older sister (not cringe at all lol). At the time I had no feelings, just a kid-free brain gal living her best little church life being a ka’a – what any kid would do eat, sleep and play in church. Long story short because this is going way into detail and y’all be like 🐸#faikakala. Years go by and we start to fall for each other and no he did not impress me by putting the chairs away after church like how nowadays boys be trippin lol Paul admitted he had feelings for me when I was being the innocent little girl that I am HAHA) but that was not till we already had been dating. I had a crush on Paul for a few years as I became older and ya girl told him via FACEBOOK like status on his timeline “like for a tbh” 🥴 Forgetting that I’m Samoan and the whole of Samoa would see this, I straight up went in the feels and boom everyone starts liking it but I’ve never gotten likes on anything (sad life) goes to show how everyone be lurking. Fast forward to 16 years old we started dating and because we go to the same church there were pro’s and con’s of having a relationship at a young age in a islander church. Despite everything we went through with church/parents/family/friends , we stuck by each other, we kept our distance, we prayed, we fasted, we tried to maintain a healthy God founded relationship but at the same time in trend which was really difficult. That may seem like an easy listing but it was real hard especially being in a society filled with temptation. This ain’t a perfect love story. We had our ups and downs, we fought and we still do, we cry, we say hurtful things we don’t mean but hey that’s just human nature. Fast forward a few years and we’ve now been together for 5 years and 1month and forever to go😜 Never will I ever regret that status but still CRINGE tho #28

Continue reading “Pasifika Love Matters: Paul and Mira”

End Colonial Mentality: Jacinda Ardern as Pacific Islander of the Year – REALLY?

*Sigh* I can’t believe I’m even writing this post now. If you keep up with Polynesian news then you probably heard about Island Business naming New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern as Pacific Islander of Year, and man did the flood gates open. I mean come on! Where is the one love here? So let’s dive into this cause there’s things we need to unpack in talking about this decision from the Fiji based magazine.

Continue reading “End Colonial Mentality: Jacinda Ardern as Pacific Islander of the Year – REALLY?”