An essay written on ‘what sacrifices by Samoans and Allied servicemen and women during the First World War mean to you”, has won a Samoa College student a trip of a lifetime.
Like other countries, New Zealand is commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the First World War (WWI) of 2014-18, and because Samoa fought in both World Wars in New Zealand units, local students were invited to take part in a competition which was organised by Samoa’s New Zealand High Commission.
As the winner from Samoa, 16 year old Aunoa Uele will travel to New Zealand and then on to France with other students from the Pacific to be part of the Somme commemorations from the 11th to the 18th of September.
While she is in France, she will take part in a week-long programme which also includes other cultural activities.
“We are thrilled that Aunoa has this opportunity to represent the youth of Samoa at the Somme commemorations in France,” said New Zealand High Commissioner, H.E. Jackie Frizelle.
“While this war in the Northern Hemisphere may seem long ago and far away, there are important connections to Samoan families and the impact of World War One was felt throughout the Pacific. Remembering the dreadful loss of life at Somme is a sobering reminder of why we seek to prevent conflict and to look for peaceful resolutions.
“Aunoa’s essay, which earned her this trip, showed great insight in understanding this. “As well as the chance to participate in this meaningful event, I hope the journey and exploring will be fun.
“She will be travelling with other youth from the Pacific and I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience.” Aunoa said her inspiration was her mother.
“It was my mom and also the study centre which was established at Malua with the aim of encouraging kids to practice writing,” she said.
“I also want to thank all my teachers in Samoa College who pushed us to do more writing so that we would improve academically.”
At the time, winning the competition came as a shock to the young writer.
“I am overwhelmed, I didn’t expect to win anything and when I joined this competition I was just doing it for the love of writing,” she said.
“A message for young writers out there is when it comes to writing there’s no secret, practice makes perfect."
"Just keep going and you will gradually improve.”
Talofa lava! My name is Aunoa Uele and I am 16 years old. I am a full Samoan. I am second child of five I was born and raised in Samoa till I was five then my family and I had the opportunity to move to Auckland New Zealand in search of a better future.
We moved back to Samoa in 2014 so my parents could attend the Malua Theological College because my family and I are very strong Christians.
I attend the Congregational Christian Church in Vaiala where my Grandpa is currently serving as its Church Minister. I am in Year 13 at Samoa College. I very much enjoy reading, writing and being involved in religious activities. I take four subjects at school: Geography, History, Economics, and English.
I am afraid of heights and am not a risk-taker. I am very independent but I can be quite sociable and I am excited to explore and be exposed to new people and new ideas.
I am over whelmed and honoured to have this once in a lifetime opportunity. I was thrilled and when I found that I am travelling to France. I am very grateful and truly blessed.