Talofa Lava & Warm Pacific Greetings

This blog is a canvas for stories from the unique voices of inbetween. . .’Afa Kasi voices.

My name is Grace Taylor, a ‘afakasi women residing in Aukilani, Niu Sila.  I am a spoken word poet, youth worker and currently completing my Masters in Youth Development.  I am passionate about ‘afa kasi identity, how it is shaped, explored and expressed.  I am embarking on a malaga of empowering the voices of ‘afa kasi generations to be heard – this blog is one way to provide that opportunity.

To date there is little Pacific academic research, theories etc discussing ‘afa kasi identity, which has forced people like myself to rely on foreign hybrid or bi-racial theories that just do not seem to speak truthfully to the unique experience of being a Pacific ‘afa kasi.  This blog is a step forward in the movement for research of our people to be carried out by our own people.

You are invited to share your own ‘afa kasi stories, to talanoa with others in which ever medium you choose – written poetry, performance poetry, storytelling, converstations, visual art, videos of dance or just posting up your experiences.

For those that share your words, it is a honour and for those that may read, thankyou.

On that note I will leave on my first ‘afa kasi poem. . .

Ia Manuia Lava

Grace Teuila Evelyn Taylor

Intertwined : Being ‘Afa Kasi

English roses
snow blooded lines
Samoan tattoo
coco blooded lines
created by the love of two
under the One
makes me.

This white skin
nurtured in a brown community
struggling to find unity
within me.

Bouncing from one skin to the next
putting my culture on to fit in with the rest
fighting to not be the miniority
in a vain attempt to have them accept me.

Even within my own family
spoken from the mouths of my own blood
saying it as a joke?
saying it with love?
Don’t be so nieve to think
I don’t know it’s about me you speak.

“Uummm teine palangi”
sideways looks and laughing light
exempt from feaus
making me feel whiter then white.
“I hear her mum is Sar – mo – win?”
has darker skin?
Damn, now I be shocking.
“Who Grace? She’s afa kasi man, hamo hard”
as if it were to excuse my lighter shade?
but I started it didn’t I?
‘I’m half Samoan’
say it loud
say it proud
Feeling I gotta be a little louder
Speak a little browner

I like taro and coconut cream
Palusami and kokoalaisa
Wearing my lavalava as my island dressing gown
Laughing at someone when they tripped and fell down

What I gotta do to prove
I’m just as Samoan as you?
What, you think it’s the colour of my skin?
the words I be speakin?
clothes I be wearin?
that whispers. . .racism

Then again,
I remember wanting my mum around me
as if she were a ticket
to prove I’m from the Polynesian family
now who’s whispering racism?

Why is it so hard to others to see
Others to believe
The mixed flavours of me
I guess it had to start with

Yes, racism
from family and friends, but my journey revealed
“damn Grace, it’s also from within”

Why can’t we choose to be colourblind?
instead of allowing our colour to blind
our vision
of who someone truly is
what they nurture, what they give

gotta find
I found in
His love is colour blind
your blood flows the same as mine

And yeah, I’m still learning my culture and identity
but I feel what you feel, also within me
when that island drum beats
it makes my heart beat
words from my land
to my heart it does speak

My blessed island curves
in this white skin
My English words
wrapped in humour that is undeniably Polynesian

It’s all one in the same
it’s ‘Afa Kasi
the name itself acknowledges

a journey
a struggle
a celebration
a life
being ‘Afa Kasi


One response to “Talofa Lava & Warm Pacific Greetings

  • Doug Poole

    Talofa Grace,
    I love this idea, will pass around. Here is my final say on Afakasi, halfcaste, for me personally I now know where I stand, and I reject cultural gate keepers and those eugenics subscribers who seek to define all and everything… whilst I support what you are doing, I am no longer Afakasi…
    Doug xxxxxx

    Pouliuli 23

    I am no longer a part of you Samoa

    The sun has set on my “half caste” blood

    no longer yearn for you

    You speak in rhyme and talk of

    skin – no room for the “Afakasi”

    I used to tell you this – I am Samoan

    It is my birth right to claim my

    Grandmother’s Samoan Heart

    Call Tula’ele home

    recalling cousins crowded around

    The breadfruit tree to see

    The white boy

    The white skin

    The Afakasi – Shouting palagi palagi palagi

    I have no inheritance the land is gone

    My grandmother is gone

    no feet to place in the soil of my Aiga

    It is gone – so I am walking

    I tell my children

    they do not know who you are & where you come from

    calling to peers to

    see me hear me perform with me accept me

    crying to ancestors

    why did you forsake me in this skin?

    “Half caste” is lost is sinking is nothing

    Afakasi is phony pepelo mule – liar!

    Has no claim to title no place to plant

    No fale to burn – no land to yearn

    I do not belong to this world

    I am Pouliuli a pepelo I am Ulupe

    made to wear it oh so well,

    so let me ask you this…

    What is Palagi? What is Afakasi?

    This is my story only, it is the way I was raised, My Grandmother Edwina Ulberg, after I sobbed being teased in Samoa – “Palagi! Palagi!” consoled me, she said to me “they don’t know who we are, and where we come from”, I never forget that.

    I remember being called called a pepelo mule by my best friends Samoan mum, I laughed and clowned around even more saying “My Grandmother is a Samoan Princess!” we descend from the Tuailiemafua title from Safune, Savaii, and she was of Paramount title descent also (which one I am uncertain; her mother was a powerful Mataafa clan women who put many men in there place too!).

    There is a place for us all, and for me I stand on my own ground. Don’t get me started on being called a German Samoan OMG! We are Norwiegan Descent: Peter Christian Ulberg was a Naturalised American citizen (San Francisco) from Ulberg farm,Oslo, Norway… here is some more…

    Hey you can post any of this if you want…I will do it…

    Love to you and Dk xxxxxx

    Pouliuli 5
    To Great Uncle Otto Ulberg

    We rented in Te Atatu Peninsula’

    the real estate broom had swept out

    lower socioeconomic undesirables

    A drunken “full blood” who worked

    with Anja cried,

    ‘Oh you are afakasi, you’re German,’

    So’onofai a “full-blooded” Samoan

    married Peter Christian Ulberg

    a Norwegian.

    ‘Pah!’ she spat ‘You are ´Ulupe!’

    Chris recovers from a stroke,

    Clara’s lungs are under attack

    from Rheumatoid Arthritis

    We sit together and laugh about

    Drunk full-bloods when

    Bainimarama announces Coup

    Western backed democracies,

    I am the broom, for the people.

    Chris is Fijian, he agrees, who

    will stand against a silent majority?

    Clara tells a childhood story of

    Uncle Otto stripping Cacao in

    The shade of a breadfruit tree

    the young ones watch as a ripe

    breadfruit falls from the low

    branch on top of his head,

    ‘´Ulupe!’ we cried ‘´Ulupe!’

    you see, that is the Ulberg,

    that is what they called us.

    Half Caste

    Homesick golden haired
    palagi boy
    comes home to Apia
    with his aged Matriarch
    Grandmother Edwina;
    Auntie Mina;
    Gogo Sina.

    Homesick brown eyed
    palagi boy
    felt neither one
    nor the other
    not palagi
    not Samoan
    until Cousin Monty
    gave him soul
    Samoan laughter

    Homesick golden haired
    palagi boy
    falling into dreamlike existence
    falling into strong bonds of family

    Talofa lava

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