Activity for ‘Fiapule’


by Catherine Hannken

Fiapule is devastated when Mum and Dad tell him he can’t go to his best friend’s birthday party, because it falls on the same day as his new baby sister’s christening. As he struggles with having to miss out on the party food, magician and treasure hunt, Fiapule’s Dad reminds him about the importance of family and togetherness. Fiapule learns that family must always come first, as is the way of his Samoan culture. As it turns out, he does not completely miss out on the birthday party fun after all! This book was nominated because of its focus on the strength of family, culture and tradition in Samoan culture. It also was nominated because it represents a true experience that children can understand and relate to, as well as accurate illustrations and use of Samoan words.


 (Health & Physical Education/ Social Sciences)

Curriculum Level

3(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies

  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
  • managing self
  • participating and contributing


This story provides a great opportunity for students to engage their thinking skills, as they consider Fiapule’s problem from different perspectives.

1. Before reading, tell the children that in this story, there is a problem. Tell them that as you read, you want them to think about the different characters in the story, and how they might be feeling about the situation at any time.

2. Read the story. Students may wish to jot down notes as you read, or just listen.

3. After reading, establish the problem with students: Fiapule wanted to go to his friends birthday party, but mum and dad said no, because it was a Sunday, as well as being the day of his baby sister’s christening.

4. List the following characters on the board: Fiapule, Liam, Mum and Dad.

5. Organise students into pairs or small groups.

Hand out large sheets of paper, and ask students to create a table like the following:

The Problem:



Mum and Dad

6. Firstly, ask students to define the problem in the first column.

7. When they have done this, ask them to discuss how each person was feeling about the situation, as well as reasons for why they were feeling like this.

In other words, what was their perspective?

Write down ideas in the columns under each person’s name.

  • Depending on the class, you may need to scaffold this a little first

8. Share back as a class. Did everyone get a similar result? Discuss.

9. Ask the students:

  • why do you think it is important to be able to see things from different perspectives?

Establish that it is important because we all view things differently. In Fiapule’s family, Sunday was a special family day, and the day of the party was especially important because it was the day of his sister’s christening. For Liam and his family, Sunday was no different to any other day of the week. It was important for Fiapule and Liam to understand each other’s families and culture, because that way they were able to solve the problem (although Fiapule wasn’t able to attend the party, he was able to see Liam later and have some cake).

10. Ask the students to identify some things that are really important to their own family. Share as a class, and then ask:

  • Did we all say the same thing? No? Why is that?

Establish that each family is different, and values different things as important. It’s really important that we respect this and honour our family values, even if it might get in the way of our friendships sometimes.


  • paper, pens, pencils for writing

Curriculum Links

Health & Physical Education Personal Health & Physical Development, Personal Identity

  • describe how their own feelings, beliefs, and actions, and those of other people, contribute to their personal sense of self-worth (Level 3)

Relationships with Other People

  • Relationships: identify and compare ways of establishing relationships and managing changing relationships (Level 3)
  • Identity, sensitivity and respect: identify ways by which people discriminate and ways to act responsibly to support themselves and other people (Level 3)

Social Sciences

  • understand how groups make and implement rules and laws (Level 3)
  • understand how cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes (Level 3)

Links to other PPBC books

Selafina by Catherine Hannken;Talia by Catherine Hannken

– both of these books describe a child facing a new situation and having to think from different perspectives.