Naomi Sauvao

The Guerrilla Collection ran a Poetry/Spoken Word Competition calling all young creatives to write/record a 1-2 minute long poem/spoken word piece based on the theme - "IDENTITY".

Naomi Sauvao was one of 3 winners for the 2022 Poetry/Spoken Word Competition.

My name is Luaipouomalo Naomi Sauvao Pasene, but I like to be called Omi. I am 18, reside in Mangere East and currently attend Aorere College.

I enjoy the freedom Spoken-Word Poetry provides, as an outlet for anyone who wants to express what’s on their mind or in their fatus.

It’s crazy because my piece is called “To be a Samoan Woman”, but I was actually inspired to write this after hearing a poem from ‘Word - The Frontline Grand Slam’ about Tongan Women.

I cried so hard when I heard it and resonated with it (even though I am of Samoan descent), so I used the same concept and incorporated it into my own experience with my culture.

Despite my piece being specifically about living as a Samoan woman, I know Polynesians, as a whole, may have experienced similar experiences

Film Credits

Faith Schuster

Rodney Tyrell

By Naomi Sauvao

To be a Samoan woman
She Sacrifices only for her downfall to be the uplift of a whole village.
She bows with gracefulness
She dances with gracefulness
She softly composes her fingers to trick the human eyes to believe she is a wave,
She's a whole storm.
She is the result of tough love,
Tough love disguised as ‘to be a samoan woman’.

Are they bibical commandments or the FA’ASAMOA way?
And if by not abiding means she is trespassing away
From her ancestors dreams
then how does she break free from the chains of hierarchy?

Hierarchies of sex creates traditions
traditions ruled by a village
A village ruled by men
Full of “Tama’ita’i o Samoa”
Samoan women who want more
basing their entire lives on four
words: graceful, obedient and ata mai!

In any given situation, she is graceful.
Making sure to not be disgraceful
When faced by mean words
Her eyes are tearful
They are fresh as her fathers cusswords
when asked to serve her elders that sit quietly and listen

They teach her to be obedient

When told to move,
move and apologise
not too low though
making sure not to trip up, past her uncles that sit and discuss the family matters,
cause family matters.
Family will always matter
And when they spoon feed her the word of God
she remembers they only want to save her from the pit of fire but,
Who will save them?
Who will save the aiga?
Always in God's arms
but God was never the man that held a fue.
never the man that yelled don't forget to

Ata mai means to smile
She smiles and follows her hands.
E paia ou lima
Her hands are sacred.
Yet they grow cold from the empty warmth of womanhood.
Samoan woman hood.

Without lima o se Tina,
most villages would fall.
But she’s tired of upholding them
She just hopes her Alofa is not taken away
just because she is not the Samoan woman
defined by men

Cause To her
To be a Samoan Woman
is just that
to be samoan
And to be beautifully
A woman.

For winning the Poetry/Spoken Word Competition Naomi received:

- $500 Prezzy card

- Online mentoring session to develop her poem

- A limited edition The Guerrilla Collection T-Shirt

- Dance film created to her spoken word poem by Black Grace dancer