Welcome to the fifth blog of our series celebrating le vaiaso o le gagana Sāmoa (Samoan Language Week) from 26-31 May 2013.
When travelling to the Pacific Islands, people often return to New Zealand with a range of gifts and food. Many of these prepared by family and friends. This umu box represents this exchange in a tangible way, as it was brought to New Zealand by Reverend Iamanu Amaama and his wife Toeafualetaeao, parents of a Samoan man who had recently migrated here. Inside the box was lu’au (cooked taro leaves), taro and ufi (yam), prepared by the young man’s family.
The increased biosecurity measures implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) has meant a more regularised form of checking. Thus, this umu box provides a safe way of transporting and distributing food. It also demonstrates New Zealand’s acknowledgement of this important form of cultural exchange between families in Sāmoa and overseas. Although some of the Pacific delicacies can be found in New Zealand, nothing beats a home cooked umu meal, made with alofa (love).