Samoan Author Lani Wendt-Young, a friend and a Pacific sister of mine whom I greatly admire for her work and entrepreneurship, celebrated her second Auckland book signing in the Unleash the Fire: Telesa Trilogy Celebration event on Saturday 25th August 2012. Hosted by Shop Samoa, the weather was perfect for this outdoor event at the Otara Fleamarket where every Saturday morning, large numbers of Pacific peoples congregate to sample and enjoy the food offered by numerous stalls and/or to purchase Pacific inspired arts and crafts, music, books, fresh fruit and veges and more. To have the event hosted there was fantastic as it took the Telesa Trilogy series into the heart of the Pacific community. It was a wonderful day indeed.
Prior to the event taking place, Shop Samoa stated that their goal was to showcase a variety of Pacific artists and entrepreneurs and in my opinion, they did a great job in doing exactly that. The MC for the event was Yolande Ah Chong, also known as our diva of the Pacific who is a fabulously vivacious host on Radio 531pi. The line up of performances consisted of a few members of the South Auckland Poets Collective i.e. Marina Alefosio, Mafi Tavo, Lina Tukunga and myself, a reggae and rnb band called Higher Ground, the vibrant Tatau Dance group, Taufau Gardenia Aukuso and To’afa Te’o Ataata music duo and a beautiful contemporary Samoan siva performed by Filoi Vailaau. It was an honour for me to perform spoken word poetry alongside my fellow poets at this event (thank you Lani and Shop Samoa!). Here is a slideshow of photos from the event:
This event also saw the pre-launch of the first magazine aimed at the Pacific young women, SUGA. With SUGA’s Editor Cecilia Sagote on site at the event it was an exciting moment for her too. Cecilia Sagote has been working on the idea for this magazine over the past few years after recognising the gap in the market. Included in the magazine’s first edition is a special feature on Lani Wendt-Young and the Telesa Trilogy series with a Telesa inspired fashion photoshoot with Pacific models who wore Pacific inspired garments designed by Paula Chan and MENA. These beautiful garments were showcased on the day by beautiful young Samoan models. Cecilia Sagote said that SUGA magazine will also bring to light news coming out of the various South Pacific nations to encourage and motivate young Pacific women to be comfortable in their own skin.
Furthermore, the talented Samoan photographer, Jordan Kwan, was also present at this event along with his 2013 Sexy Samoan Men calendars which were on sale at the Shop Samoa stall. Jordan Kwan has been working closely with Lani Wendt-Young in the promotion of the Telesa Trilogy series and it is great to see his work come alive. It was also awesome to meet him on the day too. He is a humble guy!
Shop Samoa was pleased with the turn out of the event and they stated, “the Unleash the Fire: Telesa Trilogy Celebration was a great success. It was a true celebration of pacific talent and creativity. The success of the Telesa Trilogy continues to grow and its helping to fuel the creative fire of other Pacific artists and entrepreneurs”. Shop Samoa in conjunction with Lani Wendt Young will be hosting more events like these in the future as it is a great platform for exposure and connecting with the community.
Below is the book trailer in which Jordan Kwan produced for Lani Wendt Young’s second book from the Telesa Trilogy series entitled When Water Burns:
Over the past year, I have seen Lani support and encourage young Pacific peoples to pursue their passion, whether it be in writing and/or any other chosen field. She continues to encourage and support me behind the scenes with my poetry writing and the goals that I have set for myself in this poetry writing journey. And for that, I am grateful to Lani. In saying that, the Unleash the Fire: Telesa Trilogy Celebration event is a testament to the support and encouragement that she provides for others. Lani Wendt-Young states, “One of the exciting things about the Telesa writing journey, has been the opportunity to work with and be inspired by Pacific artists like Jordan Kwan and the SUGA magazine team. I’m thrilled we can come together to help launch their work”. She is an inspiration indeed!
Here is an excerpt taken from Samoan Bios about Lani’s Telesa Trilogy series:
“Wendt-Young’s novel ‘Telesa:The Covenant Keeper’, which is intended for a Young Adult audience, sees a blend of Pacific mythology into a contemporary Young Adult love story that involves fantasy, thriller and romance. The book is the first of Wendt-Young’s Telesa trilogy series. The e-book version was released in September 2011, with over 13,000 downloads to-date since it’s release. The print version of the book was first launched in her native Samoa in October 2011, and then launched in Auckland (New Zealand) on December 13, 2011, which was jointly hosted by AUT and Auckland University.
The highly anticipated second novel to Wendt-Young’s Telesa trilogy series – ‘When Water Burns‘, was released in both e-book and print version during the month of June 2012. It is a worthy sequel to ‘The Covenant Keeper‘, which will introduce new characters such as Keahi from Hawaii and the Tongan Telesa Sisterhood and their Covenant Keeper.” (Samoan Bios)
Lani Wendt-Young continues to fuel the fire in everyone’s hearts to do better, to strive for their dreams and to believe that anything is possible! I have a signed copy of book 1 and book 2 from the Telesa Trilogy series and I am definitely looking forward Lani’s next publication!
To watch the video highlights of this event produced by Bluwave, please click HERE. To purchase Lani Wendt-Young’s books, SUGA magazine and also Jordan Kwan’s 2013 Sexy Samoan Men calendar you can visit www.shopsamoa.com
In closing, I leave you with Lani Wendt-Young’s words:
“Unleash the creative fire within, for then we fly.”
Sponsors of the event:
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