Pippa Wetzell returns to her Samoan roots

By NZ Women’s Weekly ,

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SAMOA MEMORY: Pippa Wetzell and her Aunt Sheree Stehlin.

SAMOA MEMORY: Pippa Wetzell and her Aunt Sheree Stehlin. (Photo: NZ Women’s Weekly)

There are two types of island weather: postcard perfect, and apocalyptic. 

And at the latest NEXT cover shoot, there was both. Don’t let the sunny photos fool you: a large part of the day was spent sheltering Pippa Wetzell under a fale as the rain unleashed itself around us.

NEXT was in to Samoa to capture the other, less-public part of Pippa’s life – she’s a quarter Samoan, with a huge contingent of family and friends in the island nation. It was to support her beloved Aunt Sheree, the President of Samoa’s Women in Business Development, that Pippa headed to Samoa this time around and invited NEXT to see the country that has shaped her home and work life.

Growing up, there were two strong values Wetzell credits to her Samoan heritage: the importance of family, and the power of women.

LOVING SAMOA: Pippa Wetzell in Samoa.
LOVING SAMOA: Pippa Wetzell in Samoa.

 “There is an immense respect for women here. They’ve always been heavily involved in making things tick – something which can be said of women around the world – but they’re really acknowledged and respected here.

“My dad is a huge feminist; in the birthday card he wrote for my daughter the other day, he wrote ‘make sure you show those boy cousins of yours that girls can do anything.’ He adores his grandsons but he has a real thing for seeing girls succeed. As far he’s concerned there’s nothing that females can’t do and I think that comes from being raised by such strong women.”

For more on Pippa’s Samoan background, and how she feels about turning 40 in 2017, check out NEXT’s January issue. And for more information on the work being done by Women in Business Development, visit www.womeninbusiness.ws.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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