My happy place this year was getting married in Samoa. That was awesome because I hadn't been there for about 15 years. It was a momentous occasion for me and my wife, Kourtney. She had never been and my 2-year-old daughter, Jasmine, had never been, so it was our first time as a family.
It brought back all these feelings of the past. It felt so peaceful. I just felt I belonged and it was lovely to share a piece of my heritage with my wife, who's from New Zealand. And it was good for my daughter to know where her blood is from, even though she can't understand. It made everything fit.
I was born in Samoa and I was 2 years old when we moved to New Zealand. I visited Samoa when I was 13, and when you're 13 you look at the world differently, because you only think of material things and you don't think of the beauty of a place. You just enjoy the fact you're overseas and your travelling on a plane for the first time in memory. I went back again when I was 17, and then all I wanted to do was party.
It's actually crazy, all the different times I was in Samoa marked big changes in my life. Thirteen: going into teens. Seventeen: going into adulthood. And now, getting married. Going back being older, and having been through more of life's challenges, I had an appreciation for where I come from.
My mother and father and my little sister live there at the moment. It was ideal for them to go back to Samoa because it can be a lot easier to live. They still keep the original way they used to live. You've got your fresh meat that you grow and you kill, you harvest your own food, you cook the old style. You tend to keep things traditional, but with a bit of a western influence.
Although there are little things that have changed, they do everything much the same - they have rests in the afternoon, and prayers. That's the beautiful thing, that they never lost the essence of their culture. It's still Samoa, pure.
I wouldn't say I'm a true-blue Samoan. I'm a New Zealand Samoan, and that's how I place myself. I haven't lived that way, my language isn't very good, I don't deserve to be titled like that. But, in saying that, I felt like I belonged because it is where my bloodline is.
And that made me open up my eyes and see there is more to my life. There is this culture that I should know about and learn about and I want to be a part of.
- as told to Bronwyn Sell
* Pua Magasiva is an actor on Shortland St.