Super powers in South Auckland

As promised, I returned to St Joseph's School in Otahuhu, South Auckland last week with my own tokotoko: Tusitala Kapura.

Tusitala Kapura and St Joseph's School

At a specially gathered assembly of 1000 school children, I shared the story of my tokotoko, telling a tale relating to each of its 11 parts (it's no coincidence methinks, that I'm the 11th Poet Laureate). Afterwards I ran a workshop with Year 7 and 8 students.

Selina Tusitala-Marsh and her tokotoko talking to a class at St Joseph's school. 

The power of difference

I shared a story about how my difference, in this case my big hair, made a powerful difference in my life once I learned to embrace it. This is the tale behind my graphic mini-memoir, 'From Mophead to Poet Laureate' — out in March 2019!

I asked students to think about their own 'difference' and relate it to a piece of the tokotoko:

What is the tokotoko telling you about your difference and how to turn it into your super power?

Delicious poems about difference

They came up with these delicious poems.

Thanks to Liz Horgan, Anne Kulik, and all the superheroes at St Josephs!

Theresa Niulevaea

My smile is tokotoko Samoan hardwood
Carved in an ever-increasing curve,
To show my positivity
My hard-core confidence.

Kara Seko

My eyes are tokotoko wood
Brown as maire wood
I can cross my eyes like the muka “X”
My eyes are what make me me
They are my identity

Fusi Lo

I am the tokotoko’s rubber stopper
Small but essential
Placed at the bottom
Holding my ground
The youngest one
Small but essential

Madison Ulberg

My hair is tokotoko fu’e
Wild and thick
Rough and woven sennit
Plaited strands make
A long smooth curve
Of darkened Samoan hardwood

Marie Grace Rusia

My braid is tokotoko chocolate wood
Curved and carved
Twisted and turned
Uniquely woven

Empres Ta’ale

My Beauty spot
A darkened mark
Etched on pale Marie hard wood
It is who I am
A part of my mother
A part of me
Beauty on caramel skin

Anitimoni Aholelei

My loud laugh is the tokotoko’s fu’e
Swishing and swaying
Weaving in and out of life
Plaiting friendships together

Savelina Kautai

My feet are the tokotoko’s rubber
Planted on the ground.
Big and fast
Once I start running, I cannot stop.
Like the words
That Selina says!

Anna Falaniko

My scar is a tokotoko carving
Carved into my brow
A mark that remains
It tells a story
Just like the tokotoko

Matamoana Hufanga

My forehead is tokotoko steel
Hard metal
Firm and strong
I Stand
Solid in my Pasifika culture

Fou Tupa’i

My Grandma is the Tokotoko’s sennit
It’s many strands
are the many notes
My Grandma sang
All the threads
Weave to make her song
Worth telling
Her lyrics speak to me of
Her homeland in Samoa
How the love of God is in her
She’s a prayer Warrior
A song that is
The music of my life

Petra Sinclair Fui

My eyes are tokotoko muka
Expertly woven
Perfectly placed
Connecting me to
Generations past
Telling stories
Of long ago
Achievements, Failures
Hopes, Losses.

Rita Timoti Hohaia

My smile is tokotoko resin
Found in unexpected places
Brining soft curves to a
Hard world
One in a million

Elena Alao

My voice is the tokotoko’s solid steel ring
Loud, strong and bold
Nothing can stop me
Dent me
Scratch me
You can hear my voice
Echo in the sky
Calling out for you
Searching for you
And making sure you’re fine

Lose Ahomee

My eyebrow is tokotoko sennit
A tick
Hairs ending with a flick
Just like my Mum
Just like a tick from
The teacher

Evalata Taimovai

My ears are tokotoko stainless steel
A metal curve that
Reflects and repeats
What I hear
Stories and poetry
For me

Mercy Fariu

My crazy hair is tokotoko sennit
Plaited from a Pasifika coconut tree
Swishing everywhere
Expanding with its own energy.
Pasifika hair!

Liselota Tuigamala

My crazy and loud self is a tokotoko fu’e
Bursting forth just like me
The knots try to control but it doesn’t work!
My Pasifika personality sashays

Kiarah Torillo

My height tells my tokotoko story
I am the shortest,
But I am a part of something bigger
Just like the small, petite muka
Woven in story
I weave my own story

Leila Schmidt-Sopoaga

My hair is tokotoko Samoan hardwood
Feminine curves of sennit
Flowing waves
Twisting and spiralling
Tangled and knotted
A Pasifika story

Miracle Iuvale

My hair is tokotoko sennit
Each strand long and dark
Each strand the same
But different
Each strand single
But not alone
Ready to be plaited

Maryanne Niukapu

My eyes are the colour of
Tokotoko marble
A caramel blend
Precious eyes
My Dad’s eyes

Selina Tusital-marsh talking to St Joseph's school assembly

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