Te Papapa fale officially opens with special ceremony2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
A beautiful fale was officially opened at Te Papapa School last month, with a special celebration featuring students, staff, and community leaders.
The fale has been designed to be reflective of the island nations represented in the school community, although the majority of the features are Samoan. The opening celebration ended with a traditional Samoan ‘ava ceremony inside the fale, which is a ritual that is performed at the beginning of all important services and gatherings.
“The fale was designed to reflect the ethnicities within the school, and as a structure that is widely used within the Pacific. We thought it was appropriate to represent our Pasefika children and community,” says Principal Robyn Curry.
“The design was completed in consultation with our community and Board of Trustees, funded by the Board and completed by Onehunga-based design and building company Creo.”
“It gives a sense of belonging, reflects our unique community and it connects our Pasefika students to their heritage homeland,” says Robyn.
“At the same time, the fale gives Te Papapa students another learning platform about the Pasefika Islands. The significant features of the fale are pivotal in the Samoan culture and our students must have an insight and some cultural understanding of why these features are so important just as they saw during the ‘ava ceremony on the day. For example, they might have wondered about the seating arrangement around the fale and why the drinking order was alternated between the guests and the hosts. This will be the basis of some of their cultural values.
“The fale will be used as a meeting place for children waiting after school for their parents, a break out space for classrooms, and a meeting place for parents and children to rest and reflect.
“There will be a lot of learning flowing through this fale and this will hopefully give our students enriched experiences when we also celebrate Pasefika Language weeks every year.”
(L-R: are Genesis Vaaulu Tafafa, Penial Avau, and Sarona Avau stand beside the Fale)