Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

A journey of pride for Trilingual Netball Star Amorangi Malesala

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Hanalei Foliaki | Reporter/Director

Strong family and cultural values helps propel young netball star’s journey through life.

By profession she’s a netball star but at heart, Amorangi Malesala is a trilingual talent. 

That’s because the ANZ Netballer effortlessly blends her Maori and Samoan heritage and language skills with her everyday palagi banter.

“My parents instilled within my siblings and me to really be proud of being Maori and Samoan, wherever we go in the world… we were really fortunate to be raised in a household where we spoke three languages” she says. 

Her Mother, of Māori heritage, and her Samoan father reinforced the languages in her and her siblings at a young age. 

“Mum actually shared a small story with me before this interview, talking about how her main focus was to instil Te Reo Maori within the household,” she says.

“Dad spoke Samoan to us all the time. He still does.”

However, the journey wasn’t without its challenges. Transitioning from a predominantly Maori-speaking school to an English-speaking one was difficult but she remained connected to her roots by continuing Te Reo Maori through correspondence.

Her father, Leasoiloaifaleupolu Alaelua Taulapapa Malesala, also faced personal hardships adapting to an English-speaking society. 

“When we came here, it was a real challenging time not knowing how to speak English. It wasn’t cool to talk Samoan and we were teased a lot,” he says. 

Despite the difficulties, the importance of maintaining cultural ties through language remained a priority for Leasoiloaifaleupolu. 

“I wanted my parents to be able to converse with my children and I didn’t think that would be the case if the kids didn’t know how to speak Samoan,” he says.

Using those core cultural values have helped Amorangi’s journey throughout her netball career, keeping her grounded in more ways than one.

“In our Samoan culture, God is everything. He’s the centre of everything we do,” she says.

And her father agrees, highlighting the support of family and community.

“We give thanks, first and foremost, to God for the opportunities she has been given. She’s also reminded about the tapuaiga, which is very important to our Samoan people,” he says.

With high hopes to finish her studies in law to help both Pacific youth and communities, Amorangi’s aspirations extend beyond the netball court.

“I want to have an impact on my community, whether it’s through sports or legal work,” she says.

“In a netball environment, my goal is to keep chipping away at still being in the ANZ Premiership. Hopefully, I’ll be fortunate to get a trial for the Silver Ferns at the end of the year.”

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