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Polynesian Panther Party 50th Anniversary

Malo e lelei, Kia Orana, Ni sa Bula, Talofa Lava, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Kia Ora, Warm Pasifika greetings.

On Friday, 18b June 2021, Timothy Mafi (10CH) and I had the honour of attending day 2 of the Polynesian Panther Party (PPP) 50th Anniversary held at the University of Auckland, Fale Pasifika building.

For the day, we listened to Lupematasila Dr. Melani Anae, Pastor Alec Toleafoa, Tigilau Ness, Tu’ulenana (Joe) Iuli, just to name a few members from the original PPP from 1971, speak in immersive panels about the trials and tribulations they went through as Maori and Pasifika Youth. The events that defined their generation like the Vietnam War protests and the infamous Dawn Raids which horribly affected the Pacific community and its effects are still felt to this day. We listened to touching stories from Pasifika and Maori activists at the time who worked, or involved themselves with the PPP about simply “not following the status quo”, we heard about their views of the legacy 50 years today and saying that there is still more left to do.

It was an absolute privilege to attend such an important event and I feel that today’s pacific youth can continue on what they have started and become “revolutionaries” in their own right. As part of the Kotuku, we would like to thank the organizers of the event for inviting us to attend and we hope to attend another fono such as this in the future.

-Krishna Tolovaa (12BH) and Timothy Mafi (10CH)

Fakatalofa, (greetings in Tuvalu)

On Saturday 19 June, I attended Day 3 of the Polynesian Panther Party 50th Anniversary ‘Educate to Liberate’ at the University of Auckland. ‘ Upon our arrival we walked around and looked at historic photo’s from that era. Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Kingsland were where our Pasifika people were housed, it looked a lot different to the multi-million dollar houses that it is now. Tigilau Ness, Dr. Melani Anae, and Pastor Alec Toleafoa, along with other members spoke about the Dawn Raids of the 70’s and the struggles they went through like being stopped and asked for identification for proof of residency.

Throughout the day there was a variety of speakers such as Poet Eric Soakai (2019 National Poetry Slam Champion) and the band ‘Oceans Before Me’ performed songs from Tigilau Ness’s Album ‘Songs of Freedom’.

The day made me reflect and feel appreciative of what I have and the sacrifices my parents have made for me to attain my goals in whatever I aim to achieve. It was a very passionate day and an experience I will always remember.

Tofa (farewell in Tuvalu)

Joelle Semisini 12NL

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