"Talanoa Fogafala - Hear our voices" book launched

National University of Samoa's Faculty of Education launched poetry and art book, “Talanoa Fogafala – Hear our Voices” recently in collaboration with Auckland University (AU).

The book features artworks by students and poetry by staff members of the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Arts in the two universities.

According to the editor and publisher, University of Auckland's Professor Carol Mutch, the poems are based on the themes of love, nostalgia and resistance.

“In the case of this book, talatalanoa transcends both oceanic and geographic boundaries highlighting and strengthening connections and envisioning new worlds of opportunity,” she said.

The event was started with a prayer by Pastor Miriama Simanu of the Salvation Army Church followed by remarks of guest speaker and the NUS Vice Chancellor, Professor Fui Asofou So’o. He spoke on the significance of the collaborative work to both universities.

“Your poems will enchant the readers as they move through emotions from grief to anger and frustrations to joy happiness and laughter, that is what good poetry should do,” he said.

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“And to the visual arts students that drew up the collection; you have made us proud, you have also shown courage,” he added. 

NUS staff members whose works were published included: Ioanna Ah Hoy Wright, Judy-Anne Pouono, Diana Betham Scanlan, Jasmine Koria, Anita Latai Niusulu, Leua Latai, Matafai Rooney Mariner, Faa’afu Matafeo-Yoshida, Saui’a Louise Milo, Mema Motusaga, Helen Tanielu, Susana Taua’a and Mmeita Vaafusuaga.

The three artists who illustrated the arts in the newly launched book were students at the NUS and they are: Paese Papalii, Lenora Rasmussen and Edward Tauiliili.

Judy-Anne Pouono, who is a Faculty of Arts staff at the University of Auckland and has poems in the book, said she will continue to be the voice for those who are afraid, embarrassed or shy to talk for themselves.

“It’s not easy to do that in a society like this, but if I can help a few people I will.”

During poetry reading Mrs. Pouono read her poem titled “Nofotane”, expressing everything a nofotane would want to say but would have the courage or chance to do so.

“My next collection is going to be writing on behalf of children, in the plight of children, so that’s in the paper work, that is what to come,” revealed the published poet.

The NUS vice chancellor extended his gratitude to the University of Auckland, Education and Social Work, Oceania Comparative and International Education Society, Te Whakatere Au Papori Navigating Social and Current Research Unit and everyone who were involved in the making of the book.

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