The Teine Sāmoa Project.

Teine Sāmoa was originally published as an MG/YA ebook during the New Zealand lockdown in May 2020. The story follows the journey of cultural identity and discovery of four junior high school students, their families their teachers and, most importantly, anyone who has ever faced the challenges of being a teine Sāmoa.

The paperback edition of Teine Sāmoa is now being launched on the 10th of October 2020 and will not only include the original Teine Sāmoa story, but also study questions for students, making it a rich Pasifika literacy resource that is able to be integrated into Intermediate and High School English programmes – a first of its kind.

The final part of the paperback edition is the Teine Sāmoa Project, an important space created for our own brave and beautiful stories to be told, which is further explained by the following excerpt from the book

Everyone has a story to tell.

Stories are filled with life experiences and lessons that transcend space and time. They have a universal power that helps us to reflect, and think critically, allowing a deeper understanding of ourselves, others and the world around us.

But the best stories are like mirrors. They reflect our lives and experiences, and help us to connect to the events, characters, and even the language used in the story. These stories let us know that we are seen, heard and are valued.

So as Sāmoan, as tagata Pasifika, where are our stories? Where are we in the worlds we live in? Where can our tamaiti proudly see themselves? Be heard? Feel valued? For well over a decade now I have heard hundreds of stories from students, parents and educators who have been asking these same questions.

Students have shared with me their experiences of not knowing what being Sāmoan means, wanting to belong, while facing stereotypes, encounters with unconscious bias and racism, and being a proud teine or tama Sāmoa but not having their culture and identity valued outside of home and church. Educators on their own journeys of cultural identity talked about the ongoing challenges they faced personally and professionally, strategies they used to better connect with our Pasifika tamaiti and how they actively supported their non-Pasifika colleagues in better understanding our cultural values within their own school communities.

After writing teine Sāmoa the story, I stopped and thought – just imagine if there was a space for all to access and experience the power of our stories. Then maybe more people would be moved and motivated, like I was, to promote and develop the cultural awareness and understanding needed to encourage some much needed talanoa (conversations) between our tamaiti (children), ‘āiga (family) and educators.

All this thinking led to the Teine Sāmoa Project.

A space created for teine Sāmoa to share their real life stories, their unique perspectives and voices that could be accessible to our own people and others within our communities. Stories that reflect us and help others understand us. Stories that prove the importance of needing to tell our own stories.

The following fourteen stories are from real life Sāmoan students and highly experienced Sāmoan educators. They share their personal experiences, challenges and lessons for us – Pasifika and non-Pasifika tamaiti, ‘āiga and educators – to better support and enable our tamaiti to succeed as themselves, as proud teine and tama Sāmoa.

So as a result of the rich personal and professional experiences, talanoa and stories that have inspired this book and after years of searching and asking, where are we? I have realised that we have always been here and we have always had a voice. But I now know that it is only through telling our own stories that we can be seen and heard, allowing us and our tamaiti to be better understood and truly valued in the worlds we live in.

This is why our stories matter.

The Teine Sāmoa Project Contributing Authors – from top left clockwise: Telesia Tanoai, Sinapi Faafetai Taeao, Akenese McCarthy, Nila Uili, Rebecca Sa‘u, Trisha Daniels-Sopoaga, Tuto‘atasi Vailalo, Niusila Faamanatu-Eteuati, Angela Milovale, Vaia‘ua‘u Pilitati, Sarah McLeod-Venu, Makerita Feite Tago, Trinity Tauaneai, Eleanor McLeod.


*Within New Zealand:
– From Wednesday 23rd September 2020.
– Online at Lagi Routes From the Pacific –

*Schools and Public Libraries:
– Pre-orders now available.
– Online at Wheelers Books –

*For Retailers or International orders please contact for further details.

Author: Dahlia Malaeulu

dah·li·a (dah-lee-ya) / noun: a flower that is widely cultivated for its impact and coloured personality / adj: abundant, bright, bold, fresh, ready-to-bloom / human form: daughter, mother, wife, educator, problem solver, creative, teine Sāmoa / working on: creating more brown spaces in the world / currently: moving in the write direction.

2 thoughts on “The Teine Sāmoa Project.”

  1. i am so proud of you Dahlia, you are one of a kind, my heart is filled with joy every time i see someone like you who takes pride in our language and culture, because i know when we are gone, our children and the next generation till Jesus come will have a solid foundation of their language being preserved for them and the credit goes to people like you who continues to write our stories and let the world know we have a space in the world for our language and our culture. keep up the good work you are doing. fa’amanuia le Atua i au galuega lelei o lo’o fai nei, fa’aauau pea au galuega lelei, faafetai

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fa’afetai tele lava for your kind words and for supporting 🙏🏽 as you know it takes a village and those who have gone before me and are helping me on this journey deserve all the thanks. I’m just so blessed to be able to do what I love and serve our people, especially our tamaiti to proudly succeed as themselves ❤️ ‘o le ala i le pule o le tautua’, so I will continue on this mission to create more spaces and enable more of our beautiful stories to be told 💯 Fa’afetai tele lava again.


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