Tama Sāmoa Project 2021

The contributing authors for the Tama Sāmoa Project from top left corner clockwise: Okirano Tilaia, Emmanuel Solomona, Saul Luamanuvae-Su’a, Aleki Leala, Liko Alosio, Senio Sanele, Darcy Solia, Elijah Solomona, Dr. Sadat Muaiava, Israel Risati Sua-Taulelei, Isaac Sanele, Mikaele Savali, Simati Leala, Atama Cassidy.

Our forthcoming YA book, Tama Sāmoa, is a story based on Sione, Lima, Tavita and Filipo who are high school friends, uso or brothers. They are part of a special letter-writing project that helps to start a brave new conversation, an open and honest talanoa with themselves starting with the words, Dear Uso … Here they share the cultural challenges they face, and without realising it, their need to belong, to be accepted and the impact this has on their wellbeing overall.

The book also includes student study questions #LiteracyIntegration #RichLiteracyResource #VersatileText and the amazing Tama Sāmoa Project. A space created for fourteen Samoan male students and educators to share their own boys-to-men stories, lessons and journeys to help today’s tama Sāmoa, our tama Pasifika, to be better understood and supported in succeeding as themselves.

Co-author, Mani Malaeulu explains the power and beauty of the stories written for the Tama Sāmoa Project in his introduction from the book –

In my role as a mentor, coach and facilitator in high schools and businesses, I have met some amazing tama Pasifika. Many have talked to me about being proud of their Pacific cultures, their duties and responsibilities as growing young men and even as fully grown men. But I have also heard stories from our tama Pasifika about not being fully supported – not feeling clever enough, not knowing how to talk, having anxiety and fears about not being ‘man’ enough.

So many tama Sāmoa I have met over the years struggle with finding real belonging and acceptance as they physically, mentally and spiritually chop and change themselves to fit into the worlds around them. This has sadly become the norm for some of our tamaiti and research supports that this has a major impact on the mental health and wellbeing of our boys and men – who are left asking, what is wrong with me? When will I ever be enough?

I sometimes imagine what life would be like if we were all embraced as ourselves, as who we are in all the worlds we live in because I believe once fully harnessed, being a tama Sāmoa, tama Pasifika, can be a powerful anchor in the storms we face. Year after year with students and clients I am blessed to witness what happens when we know who we are, own who we are and stand in our Pasifika potential – we are unstoppable, a message that has been captured in the courageous stories of the Tama Sāmoa Project.

The Samoan boys-to-men stories that follow give us an insight into the real-life experiences that have shaped the contributing authors’ ways of thinking, living and being. They share their challenges and successes, as well as everything in between. They also give us real lessons and solutions on how to better support our tama Sāmoa in succeeding proudly as Pasifika, while reminding us that it is possible to do it our way, the Pasifika way.

Ultimately, these stories give me real hope for the new tama Sāmoa code that so many of us have been calling for. They highlight the fact that when you succeed, we all succeed. More importantly, they tell us that when we fall it is through real talanoa, through our stories that we can get back up again – because this is where you will find our strength and true Islander resilience.

Ia manuia lou malaga tama Sāmoa ma tama Pasifika,

Mani Malaeulu

Tāma Samoa will be released on 25th Sept 2021 & will be available from:
*Within New Zealand & Australia – Instore and online from Lagi Routes From the Pacific Store
*Schools & Libraries – From Wheelers Books
*Outside of New Zealand – Paperback and Ebook via Amazon.com
*Ebook – Available via Amazon Kindle & Nook
*Retailers and Organisations – Contact us via milasbks@gmail.com

#TamaSāmoa #TamaSāmoaProject2021
#SaveTheDate #25.09.21 #OurStories
#OurTamaPasifika #FaafetaiLavaCreativeNewZealand

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.

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