Lake Macquarie History

Juanita Purcell-Loli

juanita purcell-loli

Juanita Purcell-Loli migrated to Australia with her husband following a childhood spent in Polynesia. Of her formative years, Juanita recalls an idyllic time in what was then Western Samoa, punctuated with stints living in New Zealand.

Juanita first moved from Samoa in the late nineteen sixties as a ten year old. Living with older siblings in New Zealand during her teen years, she naturally missed her parents, who returned home, but she acknowledges that educational opportunities were simply greater abroad then in Samoa at the time.

The transition to Australian life occurred in adulthood, Juanita’s husband initiating the move to Sydney for work purposes. A subsequent day trip to the Newcastle region one Mother’s Day proved fortuitous. Impressed with the slower paced lifestyle and physical resemblance to parts of Samoa and New Zealand, Juanita and family decided on resettling in Lake Macquarie.

Raising children in a new country has not been without its trials. Juanita openly discusses the challenge of addressing prejudices and attempting to impress some of the traditional aspects of her upbringing on her children, increasingly influenced by the society in which they now live.

Juanita highlights her interactions with the large expatriate Polynesian community in the Hunter Region and explains how faith is an integral part of Samoan life. The interview concludes positively with Juanita mentioning that the move to Lake Macquarie facilitated her entry into welfare work, a field she clearly enjoys.