Cultural Navigation

So — don’t tell anyone — but I was doing a little light research when I read the following passage:

[French explorer de Bougainville marvelled at the skill of the Samoan sailors who knew] how to use the sun and stars as a guide and how to take advantage of prevailing winds. Furthermore, they seemed to have a wonderful sense of direction that would tell them the right direction of travel no matter what strange surroundings they were in. And, like a bird of migration, the Samoan sailors unerringly returned to the island from which they had set out.

And I flashed on this early exchange:


Our PET WRITER and his GODDESS seek directions from the writer’s AWESOME SISTER.


We just want to find the nearest supermarket.


Easy-peasy: you take the first left and you’ll see a KFC on the corner. Drive past it for three blocks until you see a McDonalds, take a right before the golden arches, and you can’t miss it.


... I have no idea what you just said.


It’s okay, I got it.


(off writer and his sister)

... It’s an island thing, isn’t it?

Pet Writer and Awesome Sister try not to smile patronisingly at her.

Wellington, 2008: there’s a KFC two blocks down to the right there.


Closing night audience heads into the theatre.
Closing night audience heads into the theatre.

Gosh it’s warm here.

With many thanks to the Apia High Commission, I was able to attend the last two nights of Goodbye My Feleni‘s season in Samoa. Yep.

It took a village, of course:

  • the actors — Sakura Siaosi Seumanutafa, George Randolph Tuiletufuga, Myka Stanley, Tonumaipe’a J Aiolupotea, Iosefa Enari, Joshua E G Aiono, and Anthony Sileli O’Byrne;
  • the directors Fiona Collins and Gaea Asolelei To’alepai;
  • the production was driven by Sophie Vickers for the Apia High Commission, overseen by High Commissioner Jacqui Frizzell, and supported by Mary Hughes and fellow high commission people;
  • and the awesome people at Home Cafe — Frank the Island’s Most Aws’ BaristaLoia the ChefSetu the BouncerJay the Friendly Taxi Driver, and Marianne the Bar Manager.

I’m chuffed: that Feleni has been shared overseas again; and that the play has enabled me to visit my parents’ birth country.

The cast of the Apia season with local RSA admirers.
The cast of the Apia season with local RSA admirers.


Reinforcements for the Maori Battalion aboard the HMT Batory, 1940. (Courtesy of Australian War Memorial via Wikipedia.)

Yes, it’s on again: Goodbye My Feleni will be playing at Home Cafe, Malifa, Samoa, Monday 20 – Friday 24 April 2015, 7:30pm each night. This production is directed by Fiona Collins and Gaea Asolelei To’alepai.

Tickets are free — they are available from the New Zealand High Commission, Beach Road, Apia or telephone +68 1 21 711.

This season is part of the 2015 ANZAC Day Programme for Samoa and is courtesy of Hekama Creative and New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade.

(Translation of toe alu — Samoan, meaning “go again”.)