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Maualaivao Albert Wendt ‘Sons for the Return Home’

SAMOA COLLEGE: Maualaivao Albert Wendt ‘Sons for the Return Home’

Source: SCOPA NZ

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Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt

Samoa College Old Pupils Association (SCOPA) in New Zealand is pleased to have Maualaivao Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt at the University of Auckland as the keynote speaker of the Opening Night of the two day celebration.

Maualaivao after graduating with his Masters degree from Victoria University, New Zealand returned to Samoa in 1965 to teach at Samoa College. In 1969 he became the first Samoan to be principal of Samoa College. In 1994 he was awarded the Order of Merit for Services to Literature and Education by the Samoa Government and this year was vested with Zealand’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand.

Wendt has written several novels, collections of short stories and poetry. Two of his books, Sons for the Return Home and Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree – have both been made into feature films. Leaves of the Banyan Tree, his third novel, won the prestigious New Zealand Wattie Book of the Year Award in 1980.

In 1988 he took up a professorship of Pacific studies at the University of Auckland. His novel titled ‘Ola’ was awarded the regional Asia-Pacific Commonwealth Writer’s Award in 1992. He became the visiting Professor of Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 1999, and later held the Citizens’ Chair from 2004 to 2008.

In 2000, he delivered the 2000 Book Council lecture, entitled ‘Le Vaipe: the Dead Water’, at the 2000 Festival. Wendt was awarded Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZOM) for Services to Literature that same year.

Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English was the first anthology of contemporary Polynesian poetry in English edited by Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan. It won the award for Reference and Anthology at the 2004 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Wendt has been known to use his own paintings in his publications. When he returned to New Zealand in 2008, an exhibition of his paintings opened in Auckland. In 2009, he was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Hawai‘i.

In 2010, he won the prestigious 2010 regional Asia-Pacific Commonwealth Writer’s Award for The Adventures of Vela (an award he had won previously in 1992).

Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poetry in English was published in 2010 and is the follow-up volume to Whetu Moana – Whetu Moana Lua II – by editors Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan. The anthology was a finalist in the Poetry category of the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards.

The upcoming SAMOA COLLEGE 60th anniversary celebration in Auckland on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st December is an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of former Samoa College students to New Zealand, their adopted country.

The Opening Night program is an emotional 2 hour reflection program, reliving a school assembly and lotu, a multimedia presentation down memory lane on the big screen, culminating in ‘The MAU & The Visitor’, back for one final show. Tears will naturally fill your eyes and rolling down your cheeks, mixed emotions will run high, your laughter will filter the air until you cry again. Ending with a Cocktail till 11pm.


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