Bernadette grew up in a Samoa, adopted by her Aunty into a strong Catholic family, her adoptive parents were ministers in the Samoan Catholic church. At nineteen, Bernadette left Samoa and settled in New Zealand. Migration was encouraged by Bernadettes parents in an effort to ensure a higher standard of living by settling in country where wages were higher than in Samoa. New Zealand was the obvious choice, two of Bernadettes sisters were already settled there. The sense of community was the most significant difference between Samoan culture and life in New Zealand and later Australia.
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