Buck Stowers

Afraid of Pasifika people?

An email from a reader:

Re your tip off about Linda Nikora…’Dr Nikora is proposing that the limited places are restricted to Maori only as she does not believe any Pakeha are culturally competent to deal with Maori health issues. She then advised the students that she will be presenting on this issue to an upcoming conference in a bid to ensure Maori only treat Maori”…what don’t you understand about that? I as a Tongan brought up in Tonga understand the cultural paradigm of my fellow Tongans. Do I think a Palagi can understand the pyshology of Tongans simply because they’ve done degree in psychology? In short no…over the years I have witnessed Pakeha psychologists in trying to deal with Maori and Pacifica clients…many of whom admit having struggled to build a tangible rapport that led to positive psychological outcomes with their clients.

A particularly well regarded television psychologist is perhaps one of the most limited psychologists I have seen in dealing with Maori and Pacifica clients. There are many psychological nuances that gives one a decided advantage in building a rapport with people of the same ethnicity. In my particular case 51 years of being a Tongan has come in very handy and comparatively I feel well equipped and versed in dealing with Tongans than say someone that has not being a Tongan for the last 41 years. I readily accept a Maori psychologist is far better versed both culturally and in understanding the psychological paradigm of Maori clients and have bore first-hand witness to the rapport Maori psychs can engender with their own…which isn’t an abberation in any regard but more a cultural fit and understanding from both parties.

Mister Slater I saw you in a Manukau food court recently and it was evident to me immediately you were intimidated by Maori and Pacifica people and you were socially awkward and with respect not a man of courage and you would prefer dealing with people of your own ethnicity and social background. Not unusual in any regard and in point of fact a preference for most.

Strange…obviously I was cowering in the corner as I ate my lunch. What an amazing impression from a short lunch time observation.

Clearly you don’t know anything about me. I was born in Fiji. I have assisted on aid projects in Vanuatu and Samoa. I attend a gym owned by Buck Stowers, a Samoan, who I count as a dear friend, and at the gym I am often the only European customer. I assist from time to time at a decile two school in Mangere with the Young Enterprise scheme. This is a school that has just 4 Europeans on its current roll. Amongst those people I call friends are Fa’avae Gagamoe, Sam Lotu Iiga, Alfred Ngaro and Buck Stowers plus many countless people I interact with on a day to day basis in and around Manukau.

The last thing of course is there isn’t a single person or even a race of people that I fear or am intimidated by. I take people as I find them and do not judge on the appearances of just one lunchtime.

Big Boys

With all of my dramas the past few years there are two people who have helped keep me on the level (apart from SB, that is). One is my best mate and the other is my other good mate Buck, my personal trainer.

His story of work with the “Big Boys” deserves more credit than an article in the Manukau Courier. Hopefully this will help.

Genetics Big BoysEarly in the morning at Genetics Gym the floor shakes as the “Big Boys” hit the cardio fitness sessions.

They sweat it out for 90 minutes with press-ups, circle boxing, running, sprints and more.

Gym owner and trainer Buck Stowers has developed the Big Boys programme and says each session is different. It’s aimed at helping big boys lose weight through the right exercise, menu plans based around nutrition and a supportive team environment.

“These guys motivate each other ? not once in the last six months have I heard I can’t do it,” he says.

Mr Stowers has had leaders of the community come to him for help to lose weight. He gets doctors’ referrals and people who tell him they’re at risk of dying because of their weight.

He runs the sessions with trainer Darren Steele and at the end of each there’s a weigh-in and a debrief.

Dr Sam Fuimaono says it’s all about diet and exercise and it’s not “rocket science”.

“But a lot of us struggle to exercise on our own,” he says.

When he started with Big Boys he weighed 182kg and is now down to 135kg.

Other men going to the classes are losing significant amounts of weight like Bob Sila who has dropped from 220kg to 139kg.

Alan Va’a says working with others on the programme has had a tremendous impact on him.

“It’s still a fight for life for me,” he says.

Buck has kept me going, he has always stuck by me, thanks for the support Buck, now here is mine.


I need a Digital Camera that has a time-lapse feature. I need it for a project this weekend…is there out there would would entrust their beloved camera to a notorious right wing blogger on a road trip?

Please contact me at whaleoilbeefhooked at gmail dot com if you can help.