Seiuli Sauni (Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland). Culture – Research

There is a Samoan saying: “O fanau o mea alofa mai le Atua” meaning, our children are gifts from God”. According to our history, Samoan men have been responsible for the empowerment and transmission of spiritual and cultural knowledge. This paper will explore the spiritual and cultural status of authority that Samoan men are accustomed to. It draws on the narratives and the findings from a small-scaled research project which explored the perspectives of four Samoan male teachers. The findings suggest there were particular aspects of the church and culture that influenced their involvement in early childhood education. This paper discusses the importance of their roles and responsibilities in maintaining cultural values, spiritual experiences and cultural identities of children in early childhood settings. Furthermore, their views on their children as learners will be considered in this presentation. It concludes with a discussion about the need for more male educators and implications of their roles in the holistic development in early childhood settings.

Seiuli Luama Sauni is a Senior Lecturer and Practicum Co-ordinator at the Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland.  Her research interests include research methodology, Samoan males in early childhood education, music in Pasifika early childhood education.  She is passionate about Pasifika research knowledge and practice, teaching and learning and developing innovative and culturally appropriate models for enhancing Pasifika learners. She has over 30 years experience in education from early childhood through to tertiary education sectors at both national and international levels.  She currently teaches in the Pasifika B.Ed specialisation programme and leader of Kainga Pasifika –  a group of Pasifika academic staff at the Faculty of Education.