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That’s me – afatasi, a Samoan word describing someone who is part Samoan and part something else. It literally means half of one. My grandmother comes from the village of Nu’uuli on the island of Tutuila in American Samoa.
Here at the Polynesian Cultural Center there are a lot of us who are afatasi–either by blood or by the cultures we represent. We may be Tongan working in the Fijian village or Hawaiian working in the New Zealand village but we are all bound by the common threads of language and tradition that declare us Polynesian.
Then there is the international mix that extended living in Laie stirs–a student body at Brigham Young University-Hawaii that currently represents over 70 countries on every continent. That’s a lot of opportunity for afatasi through marriage and the blending of cultures. My neighbor’s children are (from their father) Tongan, Maori, European and (from their mother) Fijian, Indian. Definitely afatasi! Maybe even afa…afa…afatasi. (Can you be half of, half of, half of… of something?)
Diversity visits the Polynesian Cultural Center every day in the form of visitors from all parts of the world curious to learn about a culture that could navigate and populate an ocean larger than all the Earth’s landmass combined. Each guest takes away within them a little bit of Polynesia. You could almost say each one has become afatasi…
Undated photo from pcc50.com
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