May Meet Up

On Thursday I attended an event called the May Meet Up at the Mangere Arts Centre. It was a gathering of artists and people with dreams from Mangere-Otahuhu and was such an inspiring evening.  We heard about these awesome projects that are … Read More

The Eel and Sina

Awesome day today with Jono Soo Choon and the team who came to our school and performed the Samoan legend The Eel and Sina. We hosted the show and had children from Rongomai Primary come up and see the show … Read More

Auckland Writers Festival

It was a real blessing to be invited to participate in this year’s Auckland Writers Festival. I took a writing workshop and did two talks. When I taught English at Tangaroa College, I used to bring my students to this … Read More

Storylines Awards 2018

Cook Islands Heroes is the 4th book in the Pasifika Heroes series and the book won a Storylines Notable Books Award today. Awards are important for a self-publishing writer like me because they help people to trust the work. Two other … Read More

Aiming Up with Kieran Read

Today Reading Warrior launched a new book in the Reading Warriors series of biographies. This is the story of the All Blacks captain, Kieran Read. My favourite anecdote from the book comes from when Kieran was in year 12. He … Read More

Toa Niue: Sir Robert Rex

This week is Niue Language Week. Why is Niue Language Week celebrated around this time every year? It’s because it coincides with one of the most important events in Niue’s history. Niue had been a Protectorate of Britain before New Zealand … Read More

Enriching Aotearoa with the Tongan Spirit

Hey everyone, it’s Tongan Language Week this week and I’m launching my new book, Tongan Heroes. In the lead up to the launch I’m going to post short pieces and clips about some of the heroes in the book. The theme … Read More

The Shine and the Struggle

If you  watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony, you would have seen the memorable entrance of the Tongan team led by their coconut-oil glistening flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua.   Pita missed qualifying for the Olympics three times and has suffered numerous serious injuries, including six … Read More

Olympic Islands

The Olympics start this week and it’s also Cook Islands language week. In honour of both events, here’s a history of the Cook Islands in the Olympics, taken from my new book Olympic Islands.   The Cook Islands competed in … Read More

Steppin’ with Benji Marshall

This week Benji Marshall will play his 250th NRL game! What an amazing achievement. And how fitting it is that the game will be played against the Wests Tigers, the team he first played for as a 17 year old … Read More

What did we just see?! The White Guitar

I recently took a class of Year 12 Drama students to see The Conch theatre company’s new show called The White Guitar. Wow! Speechless! One of those plays that after watching you just want to sit and reflect on for … Read More

Be a star in your role

Tristan Thompson is a member of the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. His stats in Game 7 read: 31 minutes played 3 shot attempts 2 blocked shots 3 rebounds They’re not MVP numbers. But the Cavs didn’t need MVP numbers from … Read More

No Back Down

Of all the things said about Muhammad Ali after his passing last week, my favourite were the thoughts of radio commentator Bomani Jones. Bomani said the thing that stood out to him about Ali was his refusal to back down. … Read More

Happy Aotearoa Pacific New Year

I’m so glad we have a public holiday to celebrate the Queen’s birthday on June 7th. I wish we also had a holiday to celebrate Matariki which started today (June 6th) . According to the Maori Language Commission, “Each winter the stars of … Read More

They hear how you say it

It’s Playoff time in the NBA and our own Kiwi Tongan basketballer Steven Adams has become one of the most talked about players in America. Steven is as well known for his Tom Selleck-style moustache and nifo koula (gold tooth) … Read More

The Ōtāhuhu Writers in Schools Project

Last year, five Ōtāhuhu primary/intermediate schools, Reading Together (a Ministry of Education supported reading initiative), the Ōtāhuhu Community Library, the National Library and the New Zealand Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme joined forces to deliver the Ōtāhuhu Writers in Schools Project. Five low decile schools in Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland, … Read More

“Get to the next play”

When Miesha Tate defeated Holly Holm to become the women’s UFC Bantamweight World Champion last week, she demonstrated the kind of resiliency we need to teach young people. It was Miesha’s third attempt to win the title after being well … Read More

Out of the comfort zone

I took my year 11 Drama class to see a show in town last week. We were sitting in Q Theatre waiting for the show to start, looking at the students from other schools in the venue. One of my … Read More

Help people + Your talent = Purpose

Sad news today that former Warriors league player Kevin Locke is battling depression. Kevin spoke about how losing his father and the pressures of his sport and negative comments on social media really affected him. “Reading what everyone was saying … Read More

The All Stars Are Coming

It’s All-Star weekend in the NBA, a time when the best players come together for events that celebrate the game of basketball.  This year’s celebrations are taking place in Toronto, Canada. One Toronto bank has gone out of its way … Read More

Dabbing, the Gully Creepa and connected students

Culture was on display in the just finished season of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. It will also be on display in our classrooms this year. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has been criticised for the way he celebrates touchdowns and other successful plays. … Read More

Pay it forward

Watching the film Pay It Forward with family tonight got us thinking about what an awesome concept it’s based on. A teacher sets an interesting project for his students: “Think of an idea to change our world – and put it into … Read More

Live out of your imagination

Swedish design company IKEA runs a Soft Toys For Education campaign. They make soft toys and donate some of the profits to Unicef’s education projects. Last year IKEA invited children all over the world to enter a competition to draw their own designs … Read More

The Pumas, TAI and High Expectations

I love this photo of Argentina’s rugby coach comforting one of his players after today’s World Cup semi final loss to Australia. I love it because it shows me they really believed they could win. Very few people thought Argentina could win … Read More

To really know our students

The resilience of the young people we work with amazes, inspires and sometimes … embarrasses me. My upbringing was like this: I had parents who supported my education. I never saw anyone I loved die. We weren’t rich, but I … Read More

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