Activity for ‘O Le Aso S Pa’epa’e’

O Le Aso S Pa’epa’e

by Sarona Aiono-Iosefa

This is a Tupu reader in a series which has other language versions available in Sāmoan, Cook Islands Maori (Tāpati Tatau), Niuean (Aho he tau Fānau), Tokelauan (Aho Hā Paepae) and Tongan (Sāpate ‘o Fānau), as well as an English language version in the Ready to Read series, called White Sunday in Samoa. It tells the true story of a young boy named Tafu, who is getting ready to take part in White Sunday celebrations in Samoa – a special day which celebrates children. The text is supported by full colour photos which show Tafu’s preparations and special day of celebration with his family.

This book was nominated because Sarona Aiono-Iosefa is a respected author, and the real pictures were appealing. The celebration of White Sunday is important in Pacific Island culture, and so should be reflected in the collection.

Activity: LANGUAGES OF THE PACIFIC (Learning Languages)

Curriculum Level 1, 2 & 3 (see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies

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


 This is a true story, which tells about a young boy’s preparations for White Sunday in Samoa. This story is available in 5 Pacific Island languages, as well as an English language version, so provides an excellent starting point for learning a new language.1. Invite older children or adults from the community, who are able to read and speak in any of the languages you wish to focus on. You may even have students in the class who are able to read and speak a Pacific Island language.Ask them to come and read the story and talk about the celebration of White Sunday. Encourage them to talk about the photos as they read, so that children can follow the ideas in the story, even if they do not understand the words.

2. After reading, ask the children if they recognized any of the words they heard in the story. They may have identified more common words like: mama, aunty, uncle. Some children may have also heard: fale (house), lavalava (skirt or dress), umu(oven).

3. Ask the visitor to teach the children some more vocabulary from their own language.

Using this new vocabulary, children can make their own “memory” cards to play with. The cards should show words and pictures, and encourage students to say each word as they turn the cards over.

At Level 3, children could be taught enough to begin constructing simple sentences of their own.

4. Ask the visitor to choose a short passage from the story. Have the words of this passage so that they are visible to all students, and have them learn how to read this passage, using correct pronunciation. Children could go away and practice with a buddy, then “perform” the passage to the class and visitor.


  • · different language versions
  • · parents/ older students or adults who can speak Sāmoan, Cook Island Māori, Niuean, Tokelauan or Tongan

Taking it further

As part of the Language Knowledge strand of Learning Languages, students are required to “compare and contrast” languages. If you are focusing on more than one Pacific Island language, students could be involved in identifying aspects of different languages, which are similar or different to each other.
Curriculum Links Learning Languages Proficiency Descriptor

  • students can understand and use familiar expressions and everyday vocabulary (Level 1 & 2)
  • students can understand and construct simple texts using their knowledge of the target language (Level 3)


Selecting and using language, symbols and texts to communicate

  • understand and produce information and ideas (Level 1, 2 & 3)

Participating and contributing in communities

  • use cultural knowledge to communicate appropriately (Level 1, 2 & 3)

Language Knowledge

  • recognise and describe ways in which the target language is organized (Level 1 & 2)
  • compare and contrast languages (Level 1, 2 & 3)

Cultural Knowledge

  • recognise and describe ways in which the target culture(s) is / are organized (Level 1 & 2)
  • compare and contrast cultural practices (Level 1, 2 & 3)

Links to other books in the PPBC

Watercress Tuna and the Children of Champion Street by Patricia GraceKa’akapera Tikai by Lino Nelisi

Tane Steals the Show by Lino Nelisi

Sione’s Talo by Lino Nelisi

My School Bag, My Preschool, When I go to Church by Tolo Pereira

Upside-down Face by Lemalu Ros Afamasaga

O Le Fa’aipoipoga by Emma Kruse Vaai

The Woven Flax Kete by Angie Belcher

– all of these books are available in dual or multi language versions, to support bilingual and new language learners.

Other ideas

  • The Ministry of Education have produced comprehensive notes for teachers, to accompany these Tupu readers, and in particular, for their use with learners who are bilingual. The notes provide questions and discussion points for during reading, as well as possible follow-up activities, such as sequencing a timeline of events and using the siapo patterns featured in the book (Learning Languages).

Ministry of Education. (2003). TUPU: Notes for Teachers. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media

  • Focus on the celebrations theme – talk about White Sunday and ask children to share about other celebrations in their own cultures, or in other cultures in the world. They could prepare a presentation or come dressed in their special clothing for a celebration (Social Science).