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Acclaimed Samoan Educator and Cultural icon leaves behind a legacy: NZ Samoan Community in shock

The Samoan community in New Zealand is mourning the tragic loss of Melegalenuu Ah Sam, a former Samoan teacher who made significant contributions to Pacific language education in the country.

Ah Sam's teaching career began at Mangere College in 1990, where she dedicated herself to fostering a culturally inclusive environment.

She played a pivotal role in establishing Gagana Sāmoa (Samoan language) teaching at the institution.

Her vision extended beyond Samoan language preservation, leading to the introduction of classes in te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani (Cook Islands Māori) and Lea Faka-Tonga (Tongan language).

In 2012, Ah Sam spearheaded the creation of a special languages block at Mangere College, serving as a hub for Māori and Pacific learning. Her passion for Pacific languages extended to the annual ASB Auckland Polyfest, where she served as the lead coordinator of the Samoan stage since 1993, an event of immense importance to the Pacific community.

Ah Sam's unwavering commitment to Pacific language education earned her recognition in 2022 when she was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services.

Her passing has left a profound void in the Samoan community and beyond, as members pay tribute to her exceptional contributions to education and cultural preservation.



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