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Six little ducks tell a hidden story

SAMANTHA SMITH
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014
The E Ono Tama’i Pato team

SPEAKING UP: The E Ono Tama’i Pato team is voicing the words no one wants to hear. From left, Nani Fruean, Maureen Fepuleai Harvey, Destiny Fruean, Mele Lopasi Latu, Adelaide Ta’ala and Mataniu Magale.

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Six little ducks are about to open minds about what's happening behind closed doors.

E Ono Tama'i Pato -"six little ducks" - tells the story of Samoan women and their children who have experienced abuse in their homes and how they deal or don't deal with it .

A group of six women are staging a playreading at Mangere Arts Centre this week.

Writer Maureen Fepuleai Harvey says the script was written so people could have a voice.

"It was written because of my own personal experience, the shared personal experiences of so many other Samoan friends both male and female.

"It was like, so many people are talking about it but nobody is doing something about it.

"I had suffered in silence for nearly 40 years. This was my opportunity to find my voice and hopefully, provide a voice for so many others like me."

The script was written in 2010. Fepuleai entered it into the 2011 Adam New Zealand Play Awards and went on to win the award for the best new play by a Pasifika playwright.

The six women agreed to be a part of the playreading for free as a fundraising event for the Samoan Victim Support Group.

They are not professional actors but women with a passion for doing the right thing for their children and their our community.

Primary school teacher Mataniu Magalei says the reaction to the playreading has been mixed.

"It had a strong reaction with a lot of praise but also some not so good, as culturally it's something you don't do.

"And the fact that the voice is stronger as it comes from six points of view, not just one person. It's on the table now - it's something that is no longer hidden, it's got a voice."

School counsellor Mele Lopasi Latu says she's taking part because it will help her engage with families she is working with.

"With this playread it helps me realise how the victim is feeling and how I can help the victim with the underlying issues."

Probation officer Adelaide Ta'ala always wanted to do something to speak out.

"At first I said no because it was out of my comfort zone, not just acting but with something this serious.

"Deep down inside I really wanted to do it because I am a victim myself. This was my opportunity to support victims out there who don't know how to ask for help."

Fepuleai's daughter Destiny Fruean has been there from the start to support her playread.

"When mum approached me to be in this one I thought why not? I have been there from the start.

"I like being a part of this, being a voice bringing this taboo subject into our community and making them aware."

Fepuleai's script had been gathering dust but it came to life when the women came together and started reading.

"They were real people, they weren't thinking of all the technicalities of voices, they just read," she says.

The sixth duck in the playread is Elena Olive.

E Ono Tama'i Pato is on Friday at 6.30pm. Entry is $10. PG12 rating. All funds raised from the night will go to Samoa Victim Support.

Go to eventfinder.co.nz or call 0800 BUY TIX (289 849) for tickets.

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- Manukau Courier

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