Salainaoloa Wilson says she has been interested in languages from an early age. Her first language was Samoan and she only learned English when she started school. In high school, she excelled at Japanese and German.
She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Samoan Studies (2006), a Bachelor of Arts (1st Class Honours) in Pacific Studies (2008) and a Master of Arts in Pacific Studies (2010) at Victoria University of Wellington.
Salainaoloa then came to AUT to complete a Doctor of Philosophy with the intention to document the maintenance of Samoan in New Zealand Samoan communities.
"I wanted to hone in on the role the family plays in language maintenance. In order to maintain a language it needs to be transmitted from one generation to the next and that normally happens in the home.
"I want to find out how Samoan families are using and valuing the Samoan language.”
Salainaoloa says she sees her research as a personal mission.
“It’s my commitment to my Samoan community to research, document, and raise awareness about the decline of the language.
“This study is giving a voice to the New Zealand Samoan community about the place of Samoan language in New Zealand, and how to maintain it.”
Salainaoloa has worked at AUT since 2011, while completing her studies. She has fulfilled various roles from Administration Assistant, to Research Officer and is now a Lecturer in the School of Language and Culture.
"AUT is a really exciting place. There is room to grow and innovate here. We are heading in so many exciting directions and I’m excited to be a part of it."