Play kindly app
When a Pasifika person goes to the effort of producing a PhD, there is a strong drive to serve the communities we come from. When Tafa Esther Cowley-Malcolm completed her PhD thesis at Victoria University she was unwilling to let it sit on a shelf in a library. One of the ways she felt she could continue to share the key messages she had learned from researching Pasifika parenting, was to use technology and develop an app.
Lucky for Esther, in her extended Samoan whanau was Ali Ekeroma Cowley, who has had many leading design and arts roles, including Storyboard Direction and Animation Director for the TV show “Bro Town”. Esther also recruited the famous comedian, playwright and writer Oscar Kightley.
She offered these two Samoan men an opportunity to lend their skills to something of great benefit to the Pacific community.
Together, this trio creatively brainstormed an app that combines public health messages and the latest evidence, with comedy and a familiar Bro Town aesthetic that feels on point (relevant).
This is an innovative way to not just reach a youthful Pasifika demographic, but inform and uplift them by giving tips on how to manage challenging and aggressive behaviour from children. At its core, the app shows how we as parents have so much power in determining the outcomes of that behaviour if we navigate it well.
The app demonstrates strategies that are effective and shows the way we respond as parents makes such a huge difference in our children’s lives. We can contain or inflame the situation and we can build our children up or pull them down. Ultimately, we are teaching them the very essence of how to respond and react to others by what we model to them. The very practical examples, designed to give us a giggle but also be incredibly helpful, are not patronising but loving. They help us in ways that we might feel challenged, modelling real-life situations using real-life examples.
“Play Kindly” is modelled on international innovation, but through Oscar, Ali and Esther, it has become very much revamped for the “bros” and “sugas”, “urbanesia” and our own Pasifika flavours.
The launch at the University of Auckland Pasifika Fale was an absolute celebration of us, our own solutions, passion and purpose as a healing and whole community. Le Va was proud to be one of the sponsors of the launch. It is our focus to enable community-derived positive mental health and wellbeing innovations and celebrate success.
Renowned New Zealand poet, and Le Va staff member Karlo Mila was invited to compose a poem for the launch. This poem is based on the knowledge and wisdom that our Pasifika ancestors have passed down to us that we can draw on. Here is Karlo’s poem.
When we open our ears