TODAY |

Tagata Pasifika: The Auckland dance school helping Samoan girls learn about their culture

Fridays after school is a time most kids will be celebrating the oncoming weekend, but for a group of girls in Otara, the learning doesn’t stop.

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Elei Dance has schools in South and West Auckland and has seen class numbers soar over the past year. Source: Tagata Pasifika

Elei Dance was founded by Lorna Fa’alafi and is based in South and West Auckland.

The group was set up to help young girls take their first steps towards learning about Samoan culture through dance.

E L E I stands for ‘empower, leadership, excellence & integrity,' values which Ms Fa'alafi says lie at the heart of the programme.

Since its inception a year ago, the group’s profile has increased exponentially and as a result, a second class has been started up in West Auckland.

Starting with a group of 55 girls, now about 300 children attend classes.

While the numbers have been encouraging, it’s also been a sobering reminder of how many young Samoans struggle with the culture.

“You can see after a few weeks, they start to make friends and they feel more comfortable to put on their ie lavalava together sit there and learn the dances and learn the songs,” Ms Fa’alafi told Tagata Pasifika.

For the full story, watch the video above.