Untold Story

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Untold Story

October 31, 2023

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In August, over 100 hundred students from schools across Ōtautahi Christchurch and one from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland came together to creatively communicate the challenges young Pacific people face growing up – demonstrated through song, dance, and an expressive narrative.

The story follows two young Pacific people from different cultural backgrounds – Samoan and Tongan. The pair fall in love, yet a myriad of barriers block their spirit, making them question their identities and where they belong.

“It’s an untold story about their relationship, something that is not really talked about within the Pacific community at a young age. It’s about knowing where you come from and not forgetting your roots,” says play organiser Greg Galovale.

Greg has worked with Burnside High School’s Pacific community over the last five years providing academic support for students.

“It’s a story our young people wanted to talk about.”

Greg says students contributed their ideas to the story itself, discussing the plotline and themes.

The story was performed in three languages, with Lea Faka-Tonga (Tongan) and Gagana Samoa (Samoan) shining through the scripted dialogue and the songs performed. This was a significant part of the play, making the students’ native tongue accessible to everyone.

This year’s play was inspired by the uptake and enthusiasm given to another Pacific production performed the year prior in which 10 schools were involved. This year, 18 secondary schools were involved; 17 in Christchurch, with one student travelling down to take part from James Cook High School in Auckland. The first play echoed similar sentiments about belonging and knowing your background, but this year’s play engaged with the two different cultures.

It was a huge undertaking, with around nine weeks of preparation, practice and rehearsals.

Burnside High School deputy principal Darryn Findlay says Untold Story allowed
Canterbury high schools to come together and work together, without barriers.

“I saw students being super confident and talking to students from other schools when they wouldn’t otherwise have had that opportunity,” he says.

“The community are all so proud of the students’ achievements. And it’s pretty cool to see them proud of themselves too.”

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