Island Roots: How to bring up a sex talk in a Pacific home

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Fagaiava-Muller and Allyssa Verner-Pula are the hosts of the Island Roots, Auckland Ways podcast. Photo / NZME

There are four pillars of Tongan culture, known as the Faa’i Kavei Koula.

They are faka’apa’apa (respect), loto tō (humility), tauhi va (nurturing relationships) and mamahi’i me’a (loyalty).

Tauhi va, similar to the Samoan concept of teu le va, can refer to the sanctity of conversations around sex.

The acute awareness of interpersonal space, especially between parent and child, makes it difficult to facilitate a birds and bees talk in a Pacific home.


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This week on the Island Roots, Auckland Ways podcast, co-hosts Allyssa Verner-Pula and Mariner Fagaiava acquaint themselves with each other’s sex lives and finding love in their early twenties.

Verner-Pula says while there wasn’t talk about sex in her devout Catholic home, marriage was highly encouraged.

“A lot of people now, when they have the birds and bees talk, it’s centred around pleasure,” she says.

“Most people aren’t waiting ‘til marriage to have sex.”


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‘Mum, I have something to tell you’

Fagaiava shares about losing his virginity and how he mustered up the courage to tell his mother about it.

“I felt the need to tell my mum that I wanted to explore that side of myself,” he says.

“I remember sitting her down one time…I said to her: ‘Mum, I have something to tell you. I am going to sleep at someone’s house’.”

He reveals his mother was open to having the conversation and that, as a result, their relationship became stronger.

The hosts, who are good friends, also share their respective experiences on various dating apps frequented by those in their generation in favour of finding love in-person.

According to research, 59 per cent of people under the age of 23 choose dating apps as their preferred method of dating.

“I’ve been on a lot of apps,” Verner-Pula says in the episode.

“And by a lot, I mean I’ve been on Hinge for an hour when I was trying to work it out.”

“I’ve been on Tinder on and off since I was probably 18, but I don’t think I’ve gone on it again since I was 21. I recently reopened my Bumble account, so I’m on Bumble now.”

The episode is now available.


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