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AuthorLaura Toailoa

Author Archive: Laura Toailoa

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September 18, 2016

“I think the key thing with anything is to always seek help. Not just professional help, but tell somebody. Coz they might easily tell you that’s normal, I get it all the time. And if it’s not, then you know you need to escalate…”   When my eldest sister sent this message to me and […]

September 11, 2016

“Oka se Laura!”* is not exactly what I want to hear whenever I go back to Samoa. But Samoan adults have that passive aggressive humour down pat, coupled with the monopoly of unquestioned authority, so I just awkwardly laugh while fighting the urge to cover my ridiculed body. ‘Ridicule’ is a strong word Laura, they […]

September 4, 2016

  You probably think that it’s too far to even have to care We’ll take a look at where you live what if it happened there? You have to know the urge to make a change lies within And we can be the reason that they see the flag rise again — Drake in “Wavin’ […]

September 4, 2016

I’m very self-conscious when I’m in predominantly white spaces (e.g. Wellington). This self-consciousness doesn’t always necessarily translate to low self-esteem. It’s a hyper anxious awareness that being a visible other might mean I’m by default a representative person. This realisation turns into smugness when I get to show them: See! Not all of us are […]

August 14, 2016

The Pasifika art world, like many other art worlds, is vibrant, diverse, deep, wide, and carries a myriad of different meanings for different people. From traditional tattooing (the word tattoo is derived from the Polynesian word tatau), song, and dance, to contemporary visual and performance art, and modern variations of tattoing, Pasifika artists explore their […]

August 7, 2016

But where are you from from? The answer people look for varies, depending on whether they want to know where my accent is from, or where I lived before moving to Wellington, or if they’re a Samoan asking what villages my parents are from. Geographically, here’s a quick overview: I was born in Samoa and […]

August 7, 2016

I knew I couldn’t go through university on my own—or, rather, I didn’t see want to do it on my own. As a Pasifika first year needing friends I joined the Samoan Students’ Associations. The solidarity of that group really helped to make the shy, quiet, first-year-me more confident with meeting new people in new […]

July 24, 2016

When the Pasifika Students’ Council teamed up with P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A. (a women’s organisation) to host an event titled “Empowering Pacific Women in Education”, you best believe there was a mix of impromptu dancing and choreographed routines, beautiful fairy lights, and whole lotta knowledge and wisdom passed down from experienced and successful women in the workforce to […]

May 29, 2016

I laugh (but mostly cringe) at first-year-me’s opinions: namely, that Pacific Studies was an unnecessary subject field and that it’s only there for people who needed easy points for their degree. I firmly believed that people who took Pacific Studies were the Islanders that didn’t want to take a real subject, who didn’t want to […]