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Noted Author to Speak on “the Soul” This Weekend

Baha`i Community of Molokai News Release

Cook Islander author and artist Johnny Frisbie will speak on “The Soul in Polynesian Tradition and the Baha`i Writings,” Saturday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. at Kalele Bookstore and again on Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. at the Baha`i Center, mile 14 east.

Johnny was raised on Puka-Puka, a one-mile square atoll in the northern Cook Islands with a population of about 400 people. Her American father was a writer and Johnny inherited his love of words. When her mother died, they migrated to Rarotonga where she saw her first mountains, rivers, horses, cows and dogs. She lived all over the Pacific including Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand and eventually Hawaii.

In New Zealand, she worked closely with the Maoris to establish language schools for preschoolers. She was a founding member of the Maori and South Pacific Arts Council appointed by the New Zealand government to re-energize Maori arts, crafts and music and was also the vice president of Pacifica, an organization dedicated to promote the development and advancement of Pacific Island women. She was one of four panelists on a daily TV show in New Zealand called, “Beauty and the Beast,” which dealt with women’s issues.

She’s published several novels, children’s stories distributed by the New Zealand Department of Education throughout the Pacific and various stories and articles in magazines like “The Atlantic Monthly” and collections such as “Nunua, Pacific Writing in English since 1980.”

After she moved to Hawaii, she danced at Don the Beachcombers in Waikiki with Alfred Apaka and later at the Queen Surf where she and her sister had a late night show called, “Puka-Puka Otea.”

A long-time member of the Baha`i Faith, Johnny noted the striking similarities in the Baha`i Writings regarding the soul and spirituality with the traditions in her own upbringing and other Polynesian cultures. Her talks on Saturday at Kalele Bookstore and Sunday at the Baha`i Center will explore this theme. The public is welcome. For more information call 558-8432.


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