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

How to convince your husband to co-author a book with you.

STEP 1: Talk about it non-stop.
In writing and publishing Teine Sāmoa, I knew early on that there was a need for a book for our boys, so the idea for the brother book, Tama Sāmoa was born. Since December 2020 I was constantly talking out-loud to myself and then eventually to hubsta about ideas – morning, day and night.

Now for those who know me well, I can tautala #talk until the povi #cows come home, especially about topics I’m passionate about. And for those who know my husbsta well, he is my ying to my yang, is the best listener and advisor who coaches people for a living as part of his business – and coaches me for free as part of his wedding vows #Bonus.

So imagine Bubba from the movie, Forrest Gump, where he talks about all the different kinds of shrimp – well, that was me at the time #OKMaybeMostTheTimeLOL talking about all the different ideas, scenarios and possible themes to include in Tama Sāmoa. At the time Hubsta was the ‘sounding board’ but what I was really doing, unconsciously over time, was wearing him down (which took fricken ages because he’s so patient) so he could help me to correct and fill the gaps for the story which led to step 2.

STEP 2: Accidentally brainstorm with him.
First make an assessment of his mood – do not approach if his youngest son (who inherited his mother’s you can’t tell me what to do #Fiabots spirit) has woken up with a me against the world attitude or if his oldest son has dropped his plastic toy in the vent of the brand new fireplace or if he is hungry (see step 3).

If all is good, or better yet if he owes you for something, then pullout some paper and jot down all the ideas you (and hubby unknowingly) have been talking about. Then schedule some time with him to ‘ask for help.’ Ease off on the talking because he will wonder why he is there and leave you to it, so make sure he talks most of the time. You also might need to revise the brainstorm a couple of times so don’t just try to do it all in one go, you’ll lose him. Brainstorming in pockets will do just fine, as long as there is progress.

This is the stage where you first see the magic happen because what you see next is the writer in him come to life – fleshing out the ideas he comes up with or connects to as well as editing the unnecessary ones out. Naturally the conversation should flow, because he doesn’t realize he’s in the zone drawing lines and scribbling everywhere over the paper. It is creativity in motion and it is beautiful. All of us have it, something I have always believed as an educator and unfortunately so many of us grow up as adults not realizing or discovering our creative potential.

STEP 3: Give him food and leave him alone.
Hangry writers become serial killers. So to save your household a lot of heartache make sure his favourite snacks are available #Cheezels, his drink of choice is stocked in the fridge #Bourbon and make sure you are ready to cook his favourite lunch and dinner #TeriyakiChicken #StirfryChicken #GrilledChicken #KentuckyFriedChicken #JustAnychicken.

Also since you have been bombarding him with the book, because it’s obviously on your mind 24/7, you need to keep him off the trail by just leaving him alone, giving him a break from the kids #ForTheGreaterGood to be all by himself or with friends because at the end of the day food and time is love. Love releases endorphins. Endorphins will make him relaxed. Relaxation equals no pressure. No pressure means no stress. Then the feeling of no stress means you can go undetected as you plan step 4.

STEP 4: Connect your experiences to confirm ideas and take the leap.
At this stage he may get highly suspicious, that you just haven’t gone on your merry way and started writing yet. So get the talanoa started quickly here by explaining the experiences you’ve had as a teacher and observer of tama Sāmoa and tama Pasifika that connect to the ideas and characters in the story that you have brainstormed together. He will naturally talk about the learnings from his own experiences and from mentoring and coaching Pasifika male youth and men too.

Now everything you have done has led to this next moment. The moment where you have to officially ‘invite’ him to write the book with you and be prepared to use any of the following lines – because I’m not a boy, my hands hurt when I type, you’ve already helped me with the ideas, it’s plagiarism if I use your ideas, I ruined my bikini body and gave you two sons etc. Also be prepared for when he looks at you with all the love in the world like your crazy and laughs in your face as he walks out of the room to eat the Cheezels you stocked up on in step 3 … only to return with two bourbons in his hands saying, ‘Maybe God and the universe wants us to combine our purposes to give back in this way, okay, let’s do this for our boys.’

STEP 5: Thank the Lord – then get writing.
You give thanks for all the lessons and experiences in your life that have helped you to get to this point. Especially for the man who has been there holding my hand through 20+ years of it and continues to do so on your journey as an author #LoveMyHubsta.

And just like life, over time you write and record your thoughts. Along the way you reminisce, laugh and cry together. You edit, add and re-craft chapters. Then when you celebrate the completion of your book, hubsta will explain that he actually knew what you were up to from the beginning because you’re the worse secret keeper #Can’tLie2SaveMyself and he knows me too well. And you know it’s okay because you are beyond grateful for your life, being able to live out your purpose together by sharing a new story with the world that you know will help and encourage others to discover and share their own.

#TamaSāmoa #Co-Authored
#Dahlia&ManiMalaeulu #TYJ