Mila’s Blog

2021 Choices, Chances & Change.

This is THE year.

A phrase we all say to ourselves, at the beginning of each year really. But after the crazy mixed bag of lollies year we all had last year, I do feel that this will be OUR year – for more choices to be made, for more chances to be taken, for more changes and growth to happen.

This 3C’s formula became the basis of my teaching career quite early on. I remember making the conscious choice to be an agent of change in my classroom. I identified what I could control, then I made choices, took informed chances, accepted and created opportunities which led to student progress and achievement – positive change.

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The I’M-POSSIBLE Book Tour: An Intimate Evening with Stan Walker 2020

Stan Walker visiting & sharing his panui with Wainuiomata Intermediate School students ❤️🙌🏽💯

Hearty. That’s the word I would sum up the incredible experience that is ‘An intimate evening with Stan Walker’.

It was like being at a concert, church and on a marae with your cuzzies all at the same time, where the stories, laughter and singing took us all on this magic carpet ride of Stan’s life journey so far – his challenges, road bumps, successes, reflections and lessons. From being ‘a little hori running around on the marae’, to the family violence and sexual abuse he endured as a child, to a cheeky little thief that got kicked out of 11 schools, his stop-start-go again spiritual journey with God, to the identity struggles he faced in the music industry that kept telling him to stop being ‘too brown’.

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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

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Talanoa with Tupe #OrianaTV

I’ve had an interesting ride on my journey as an author so far and today’s new and exciting adventure was being taped for a new Pasifika television show called, Talanoa with Tupe, which will air on Oriana TV next month #PacificFree2airTV

Each milestone or special event I’ve reached in my life was always shared with my mother #BFF via our traditional goss sessions afterwards, so here’s today’s debrief

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Teine Sāmoa (ebook) Lessons

How did you publish Teine Sāmoa? What steps did you take? What did you learn and what are your next steps? These are some of the questions I have been messaged, emailed and asked from teachers, students and supporters of my recent ebook, Teine Sāmoa. And because sharing our learning for others to win is just the island way #MorePasifikaAuthorsNeeded here are my top 5 lessons from Teine Sāmoa so far –

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Convos on a plane

Yesterday I landed in Auckland, feeling so grateful for my life and ready to take on the world. Partly for the personal purpose of my trip and because I was travelling with my uncle #AnotherDad, but it was mostly because of an amazing convo I had with the girl sitting next to me on the plane.

After fastening our seat belt, we started with the usual routine surface questions about our reasons for travel. Then a discussion around our careers and our lockdown experiences. Then our questions got deeper and led to sharing our purpose, personal missions, with the convo naturally flowing into what life was all about for us.

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Sorry … Not sorry.

While waiting in the queue for the checkout, doing my final scan of the food items in my shopping trolley, I was distracted by a palagi middle-aged man and what looked like his partner 2 trolleys in front of me.

The man had grabbed a copy of the Dom Post and as the woman was loading food on the moving conveyor belt, the man let out a ‘argh’ shaking his head.

Maybe he had forgotten something? I thought.

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“A name is not just a name.”

You know what I love about teaching?

It’s being able create opportunities for our tamaiti to develop what’s already inside them. Providing spaces for them to explore who they are and why they are. Supporting and enabling them to succeed as themselves. This is why my favourite times in the classroom were when my students bravely stepped out into our world proudly as themselves, empowered and confident.

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