One-minute interview with Seamus Fitzgerald, Director – Talent Management
This week’s 1-Minute Interview is with Seamus Fitzgerald, from Turangi, New Zealand. Seamus is our Director of Talent Management and has worked intermittently at the Center since Jan 1994. He has actually journeyed back to New Zealand 3 separate times so that in the last 25 years he has worked about 15-16 years directly for the Center. He started as a canoe show performer in the old presentation “Voyages of the Pacific” and as a night show performer for the show “Mana – Spirit of Our People”. Seamus and his wife, Jelaire have 6 children.
This is a special honor to have you share your thoughts, Seamus. Can you tell us how you are filling your days?
Since closing I have continued working everyday with the current situation it’s catapulted our online training requirements to the forefront of priorities in our training and development team. It’s been great because we actually have time to do it now. But after work my nights that are normally full have been great relaxing times with my family.
What do you do to keep your spirits up?
My spirits are never down 😊
Can you tell us about another time in your life where you may have utilized your Polynesian cultural and practices to guide you through challenges?
Our people of the Pacific are people of the land and sea. The Creator of the land and sea and all that is within also created our people. And we as humans were created last so we’re the youngest in this great family and as such should understand our role, dependence, and need to acknowledge our Creator and older siblings. All our practices from navigation on the vast ocean
to planting a sweet potato were accompanied with karakia (prayer) in hard times or struggles. Nohopuku (fasting) was also instituted as was the practice of Rāhui (to put in place a temporary ritual prohibition for a season) of certain practices, areas or behaviors, which was used to restore order. All this and more reminded our people of our dependence on our Creator. A common saying I’ve heard elders throughout my life say during whai-kōrero (a formal speech making ritual) is; “Ko te mea tuatahi māku ki te whakahōnore i tō tātou Kaihanga” which in simple translation means “the first thing for me to do is to honor our Creator” – You see our people have always understood that we’re spiritual beings with divine origins and when times are going well to times that’s are extremely challenging, our ancestors have left us practices to remind us to always acknowledge the source of who we as we seek for answers and assistance.
Finally, what are you looking most forward to doing once the Polynesian Cultural Center reopens?
Hearing the sounds of the Pacific in the Polynesian Cultural Center. Yes, I miss the connection with people but I really miss the sounds. I look forward to walking through the Center and hearing the language of our ancestors of this great Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (Pacific Ocean) singing out from all the villages throughout the day and night. These sounds that can be heard all over the village of Lā’ie no matter where you are. Just hearing the sounds of our drums, chants, music, and instruments while at work and at home brings visions of people learning and enjoying their escape into our Pu’uhonua (Place of Refuge) from their stresses and strains of daily living. Those sounds also lift my heart knowing that our culture is alive and well and young people are learning from our cultural specialists and are sharing it with visitors, giving our culture longevity. These sounds from the performances are something that I look forward to basking in again when we reopen.
Mahalo for your kōkua, Seamus.