Insight from a New Zealand-born Samoan

from Simon Mareko

Teuila is a teenage New Zealand-born Samoan girl who enters a health clinic with two of her friends for an appointment with a GP. The friends are asked to wait outside by the receptionist as they are not considered family or support people for Teuila.
After seeing the GP by herself, Teuila is placed on medication and referred for counselling. She leaves the appointment confused and worried about how her traditional parents may react if they were to find out about this appointment. 

Being a New Zealand born Samoan with a vocation to Youth Work, it can be confusing to try to figure out what is traditional cultural practice and what is traditional religious practice. The lines can often be blurred, and having been a young Samoan seeing this played out throughout my upbringing, it can be confusing when trying to understand what is the appropriate mātauranga in what I am seeing – what is the right way of doing things and what is the wrong way of doing things.  

This situation has challenged me to think about where and how to seek support to increase a deeper understanding of these practices, therefore supporting my professional development when working alongside New Zealand-born Pasifika young people, as well as those who support them.