29 May 2019

Punialava'a proud to promote Samoan language

4:48 pm on 29 May 2019

Iconic Samoan band Punialava'a say they are proud that their music can be used to help encourage the use of Gagana Samoa.

Punialava’a backstage after winning the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Pacific Music Awards.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The influential band was recently recognised at the Pacific Music Awards - winning this year's Best Language Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award last year.

With Samoan Language Week currently underway, band member Nanai Viellani Lale Peteru said they were proud to promote their culture.

"We appreciate the acknowledgement of Punialava'a helping with Samoan language through poetry, as well as lyrics.

"The emphasis with the lyrics, they're generally used in Samoa for schools for education syllabus - for their studies in breaking down the language and explaining the grammars and all.

"We're very fortunate to have our music being used for education purposes."

Nanai said they were proud of their humble beginnings.

"Our dad started it off in 1968. He wrote his first song and then he met our mother in 1980 and they carried on the singing and writing - songwriting," he said.

"And then we came along and we're carrying it forward. Our brother here Puni's the one that God has blessed with the writing techniques of the lyrics and music with of course my help - just kidding."

Punialava'a members from left, Nanai Viellani Lale Peteru, sister Miss Melody and brother Poni won the Language Award.

Punialava'a members from left, Nanai Viellani Lale Peteru, sister Miss Melody and brother Poni won the Language Award. Photo: Christine Rovoi

For Puni Lale Peteru, he would like to see more young Pacific islanders showcasing their talents in the arts and music.

He also urged them to not forget their heritage.

"You know just be true to yourself and your identity. Remember who you are.

"We live in New Zealand but we remember where we come from? Our whanau at home."