November 30, 2023

Ola Malosi: Utilising a Sāmoan world view to support health and wellbeing in West Auckland aoga amata

For generations, people from the islands of Te Moana nui a Kiwa (Pacific Ocean) have journeyed to Aotearoa to build a new life for themselves and their aiga (families). From the ancient ancestors of modern-day Māori to the waves of migration starting in the 1950s, Aotearoa is now home to thousands of people who trace their lineage to the beautiful island nations of the Pacific.

Driven by the growing need to strengthen and preserve connections to culture and identity, the early learning education landscape in the 1980s saw the emergence of the Pacific language nests. In the spirit of the kohanga reo movement, language nests, such as aoga amata Sāmoan language nests, cultivate and reinforce ties to culture by safeguarding language. These nurturing environments are beacons of cultural continuity and identity.

Ola Malosi, meaning to live or grow strong, is a new initiative supporting faiaoga (teacher) wellbeing in West Auckland aoga amata. Born out of the Tāfesilafa’i movement, Ola Malosi addresses the scarcity of culturally appropriate educational resources focusing on movement, nutrition, and communication.

Ola Malosi is bringing faiaoga from aoga amata across Tāmaki Makaurau together to create specialised, culturally centric learning resources to support both faiaoga and tamaiti (children) in leading healthy and active lives. Systems Innovator, Ruta Tonumaivao explains.

“The faiaoga are a key component to this galuega (work). The aim is to leverage their expertise in Sāmoan pedagogies to develop the resources, which will incorporate pese (songs) and culturally specific movements like siva (dance) and traditional games.”

Ola Malosi is a partnership backboned by Healthy Families Waitākere, with organisations including Tapasā, Heart Foundation NZ, Talking Matters, and SAASIA, ensuring a diverse range of movement, nutrition, and communication expertise.

“The faiaoga went through digital literacy training with Tāfesilafa’i, and now we’re looking to amplify those skills by leveraging a digital platform for these valuable resources. This also presents a chance for tamaiti to use digital devices and take charge of their own learning experiences, says Ruta.”