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An affecting, insightful and warm memoir of growing up Samoan in New Zealand — and of coping with heart disease.

An affecting, insightful and warm memoir of growing up Samoan in New Zealand — and of coping with heart disease.

Andrew Fiu came to Ponsonby, Auckland as a three-year-old, part of the wave of immigration from Samoa that turned Auckland's inner city suburbs into a vibrant cultural melting pot. At 14 he was misdiagnosed as having flu when in fact he had rheumatic fever, a disease endemic in Pacific Island communities.

As a result of the damage to his heart he was rushed to hospital. Since that time Andrew has had five open heart surgeries, a record anywhere. He has spent so much time in hospital that he says he grew up there, experiencing tender and expert care from doctors and nurses but also enduring appalling racism.

This memoir is the story of his hospital years, his clashes with his parents' traditional attitudes, the wisdom he learnt from his fellow patients and the medical miracles perfomed on his heart by famous surgeon Alan Kerr.

It's the story of growing up a Pacific Islander in Auckland, a reflection on the bad old days when schools made Pacific Island children anglicise their names and hospitals did not have translators, an insight into the inter-generational tensions in Pacific Island migrant families and also a testimony to deep friendship, boundless love and bucketloads of humour.

Written in a warm, personable and humorous style, this book is part of the cultural sea-change happening in New Zealand: first the play Niu Sila, then Bro'Town, No. 2 and Sione's Wedding and now the first memoir from a 40-something Samoan, written with grace, love and insight.

Reviews

An interesting new voice ... the Polynesian humour shine[s] through … on nearly every page. - Warwick Roger, Metro.

Warwick Roger, Metro

Culturally illuminating, often philosophical, and endearingly honest - CityMix

Staff writer, CityMix

With the seductive humour of a Samoan story teller, Andrew Fiu’s first writing effort is one that should not go unnoticed. -- Spasifik

Staff writer, Spasifik

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781869418045

    August 4, 2006

    Random House NZ

    320 pages

    RRP $27.99

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  • EBook

    9781775532149

    March 1, 2013

    Random House New Zealand

    320 pages

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