"At the conclusion of the Ulberg Aiga reunion
Sister Edwina said of me
Duckless has Palagi features, beneath that, is a Samoan Heart
My Aunties and Uncles looked gently at me and smiled.
So, I wear this inward Polynesia, this Samoan Heart."
When my grandmother Edwina Ulberg- Stowers- Poole passed away I feared I would lose touch with my extended
Aiga, and even worse, my "Samoan-ness". Being so outwardly Afakasi, it is difficult for people to accept I
am of Samoan descent. Yet I am a direct descendant of Tuailemafua O Safune Savaii, and the Ulberg Aiga of
Tulaele, Apia, Upolo.
My Grandmother's parents Henry and Tuaoloa Ulberg were respectable Afakasi. At the turn of 20th century,
Henry was a manager for DH & PG copra exporters, under the German administration, and then a Customs
official, under the New Zealand Administration, until Samoan independance.
Henry and Tuaoloa were Afakasi, yet they were high titled Samoans. This contradiction was a
contemporization of the traditional Samoan values. Yes they were Afakasi, yet they also lived by the rule of
Faa Samoa whilst embracing the modern world.
I am the product of toil and hope of two generations, part of an immigrant story, familiar to so many cultures.
I grew up within Samoan and English cultures, a collision at times, a celebration at others.
Was it difficult? Yes, at times. The stories of how my Grandmother was treated when she first immigrated to
New Zealand, have never healed.
I owe so much to my Grandmother and Great-grandparents, I have understanding of issues facing immigrants
in New Zealand today. My father is the son of two immigrants, his father Arthur from London, England, his
mother from Apia, Samoa. I dedicate this issue to Edwina Ulberg-Poole and Arthur William Poole - I miss you
both so very much.
blackmail press, is starting to feel more like home to me. It is becoming a better representation of the multi
cultural voices writing poetry both in New Zealand and abroad.
I like to think I am a reconciliator for the past. So, welcome home.
10 July 2008