On the 13th of October, Macleans College showcased their Pasifika and Islander culture during an hour-and-a-half of Fia Fia Night. Led by none other than Faithfulness Saumani, she has worked hard with all the performers for several weeks to prepare this high-energy show.
The night started off with the two MCs, Mulan Chan See and Sarah Hurford. They gave off a bright and vibrant atmosphere to start off the night, along with a karakia. The first act was the Macleans College Kapa Haka group, sending a strong ambience of power and excitement with their menacing but majestic performances.
There were several solo and group performances throughout the night, all showing representation for their given cultures. There was a range from Samoan to Tongan, and all the way to the indigenous Māori culture we have here in New Zealand.
Although most of the performances were in small numbers of people, the Macleans College Chorale came in to perform as well. They sang three songs, Mini, Minoi (arr. Christopher Marshall), Te Aroha Nui by Sue Mepham, and Malie Tagifa (arr. Steven Rapana).
The last performance was done by the Saumani sisters, Faithfulness and Gladness, who received a 3 minute applause from the audience before they had performed as they revealed a surprise. The two sisters wore the traditional Samoan tuiga outfit that is considered a privilege and associated with high status in the villages of the island.
“I am so grateful to have been a part of this event and to be able to showcase the love I have for my culture. To perform alongside my sister in her last and my first year will always be a memorable experience and I am so proud of everyone who helped and supported the whole process. Be proud of who you are. Forever 685 !!“– Gladness Saumani
The two then performed a beautiful rendition of the song ‘Faafofoga maia Samoa’, where families, friends, and audience members joined the girls on stage to support in true Samoan fashion. Despite the music cutting off at the last minute, the whole auditorium was filled with applause, cheers, and high spirited energy followed by another long applause that brought a perfect ending to the final performance of the night.
“Being the minority in the school has taught me more about the importance of my cultural identity and motivated me to share the love I have for the Pasifika and Maori community. Nothing would’ve been possible without everyone involved in making Fiafia Night ‘23 a success, forever blessed and grateful! We are not self-made. We are community-made. We are village-made. 685 to the oti !!!!“– Faithfulness Saumani
At the very end of the performance, a haka was presented to Faithfulness Saumani for all her support and help to the Pasifika community over the years she has been at Macleans College. It was a strong moment, as a haka presented to someone is shown as a form of great respect. In addition, it was former students of Macleans College who performed the haka for her such as Grace Pickering (former Deputy Head Girl), Ezra Nichols (former Hillary House Captain), and Grace Mascarenhas.
Fia Fia Night was first hosted in 2021, established by former student Tina Fata, and has only grown in its significance and calibre.
Congratulations to everyone who performed that night – Fia Fia Night was an incredible representation of the diverse culture here at Macleans College.
23rd October, 2023
Written by Emma Li and Clarissa Oblefias, edited by Aaron Huang
Photography by Emma Li
Thumbnail by Abigail Yeung