As a New Zealand born Samoan, Dr Heather is grateful to her parents for ensuring that the Samoan language and culture was maintained in their household.
“My parents were really strong in maintaining our language and culture. Having them and a community around me that saw the importance of maintaining our culture was a real blessing.
I’m so grateful for that because it has carried me in good stead in my work as a doctor. I have a lot of Samoan patients so I’m often using the language every day, especially for those that struggle with English.”
Dr Heather is a proud Samoan and carries the values she was raised with wherever she goes.
“It’s important to be proud of our culture because being Samoan is who we are. Some people would say that you need to speak the language to be a real Samoan, but I don’t think that’s the case; it’s about who you are and how you carry yourself that’s important.”
Dr Heather shares one of her favorite Samoan proverbs, emphasizing that it is vital we support each other and continue to display the collectivist nature of Pasifika.
“E vave taunu’u Le malaga pe a tatou alo va’a fa’atasi” - Our destiny is within sight when we paddle our canoe together.
“It doesn’t matter what island we’re from, we’re all connected by the ocean and we’re all on this journey together.
We need each other as we journey towards a better life and future for our people not just in New Zealand, but around the region.”
Date: Thursday 02 June 2022