Education was always a big thing for the family of EIT students Desmond Sa’u and his younger sister Faala. “Mum told me that she discovered my interest in art when I went to preschool. I was always drawing. And here I am, studying in my second year of the Bachelor of Creative Practice,” smiles Desmond.
“My parents always encouraged us to reach out to areas that other Pacific Islanders might not attempt and art is definitely one of them,” says Des who – thanks to his lecturers – started to widen his interest from drawing and painting to designing and illustrating. Eventually he wants to turn his interest to Samoan tattooing (tatau). “I’m keen on learning more about the tribal meanings of the traditional patterns. We are so rich in history but definitely lack education in regards to our culture and art.”
Faala however, chose a different career path. She is studying towards a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education). She works part-time at a bilingual child care centre which is connected to their church. “There aren’t a lot of Pasifika people in education even though we have so much to contribute. For instance, I like to speak Samoan with the children and I think it’s a great opportunity for them to learn two languages.”
Aer initially feeling a little lost on campus, being the only Pasifika student in her intake, Faala then found her feet and really got into the studying vibe. “Our lecturers are great, they always check on us and try to get to know us on a personal level. And with the other students I’ve formed friendships for life.