News Centre

Heading to Samoa


Samoa is a dream holiday destination for many, but 20 members of our Sancta Maria community are lucky enough to be spending 10 days in the beautiful country. The 2019 Sancta Maria Samoa Outreach Tour left Auckland this Wednesday morning, and will be returning on July 13. The 17 students and 3 teachers have all been busily preparing for months for this exciting opportunity.

This trip has largely been organised by Mrs Stevens, who managed to pull together this incredible trip in only 9 months, rather than the usual multiple years used to plan the previous two Sancta Maria Samoa trips. Previously, this international opportunity has had a focus on the social sciences, while this year the deeper purpose is “to celebrate Samoan culture and develop the students faith through serving others.” The Sancta Maria College community already has a huge connection with Samoa, with our growing numbers of Pacifica and Samoan families. In fact, the mother of one of our Pacifica students will be welcoming the tour group into Apia Village this Saturday. Once there, the students and teachers alike will be immersed in cooking the Samoan way, husking coconuts, cooking umu and more!

Mrs Stevens has made a big point of emphasising all the support for the Samoa Outreach Tour from the Sancta Maria Community. According to her, “Everyone has been so giving,” with Father Kevin giving Mary medallions for each student, Mr Crummer donating 25 rugby balls, Mr Gibbs supplying two brand new guitars with spare strings, and Mrs Stickland making the contribution of her family’s electric piano. Sancta Maria’s English and social science departments also identified a need in the Samoan community for teaching resources, which led them to them each generously donate textbooks. Mr Tamayo has also organised 25 new and beautifully decorated Bibles, along with a rosary for each student to gift to someone they develop a connection with, in Samoa. Ms Moore and the Board of Trustees have also been instrumental in making this trip a reality.

The ultimate goal of this trip for Mrs Stevens is to ensure “That the students come away feeling like they have made a difference in someone’s life, especially at Chanel College, and gain an appreciation of Samoan culture.” They will have many service opportunities throughout the trip, as well as chances to experience the authentic Pacifica lifestyle. The SMC Outreach Tour will also be bringing part of our Kiwi culture to Samoa. Mr Bacon will be sharing his Maori heritage by showcasing the culture and participating in traditional welcome ceremonies. Mr Tamayo will have a focus on

bringing his passion about the Catholic faith, with workshops on fellowship and God’s love with the students of Chanel College. There is also a hope of fostering “a genuine connection to make a huge difference” with Chanel College in Moamoa, Samoa. Mrs Stevens would like this bond to be strengthened, so that the schools get to a point in their relationship where Samoan teachers could come to New Zealand, shadowing Sancta Maria teachers to learn from us. Perhaps a Chanel student could even be awarded a scholarship to come and board with a Kiwi student and study here, although preferably a good rugby player to help out our school team!

It can definitely be said that Mrs Stevens has been extremely successful in organising a meaningful trip for all involved. The tour group has been regularly meeting every week to bond and work on their musical skills, although the true preparation has been largely behind the scenes. We wish the 2019 Samoa Outreach Tour all the best for their exciting journey!

Danica Loulie-Wijtenburg