Celebrating Samoan Language Week
Meet the MDS team member who’s helping Samoan kids in New Zealand to reconnect with their language and culture.
This Samoan language week, we want to shine the spotlight on one of our fantastic student support staff – the lovely Sandra Fatu-Nu’u. By day, she’s our Pasifika Student Liaison Officer. By night, she's bringing Samoan language and culture to life for primary-aged kids, with her series of Samoan language children's books.
We caught up with Sandra to find out more.
What are the books about?
The books are all about cultural identity, using relatable characters that children can identify with. These particular books (Series One) are written in rhyme to help kids with vocabulary retention, as well as adding a fun poetic ring to it.
What inspired you to start this project?
Basically, the lack of children's stories and resources written in the Samoan language for my own children. I have a passion for retention of the Samoan language and culture, as I believe it is an integral part of their identity and couldn't overlook the fact that this was probably the case for many others. So, I made a start to my add own small contribution!
What inspires your storylines?
My children, my own personal experiences, and most of all my Samoan heritage. I also try to incorporate what I know that my children and I enjoy reading about and what holds or attracts our interest to books. It is definitely still a work in progress and I am hoping that I can continue creating and refining more effective resources.
How many books are in this first series?
The initial concept was birthed around mid-year 2018, and the publication for the first book was in December 2019. I have now written and published 4 books altogether, which is the first series, and am currently writing the second series.
Are these available in Samoa, or more targeted at Samoan kids in NZ?
At the moment they are targeted more at Samoan children in NZ, with the hope that these stories will resonate with many Samoan people living outside of Samoa. Hoping that they would also be useful for children in Samoa- that definitely be a dream!
Are they illustrated? Who created the artwork?
Yes - there are illustrations, despite my lack of artistic talent and initial plan! I ended up having to step out and play around with digital technology to create the illustrations myself. Not what I envisaged but it has definitely taught me a bit about how to get tech savvy when you have to!
Where can we get out hands on a copy?
You can find out more about Samoan Language Week 2020 here.