Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith is an author and educationalist of Samoan, Tuvaluan, Scottish and Irish descent. She was born in the small rural Southland town of Mataura 26 September 1963. She spent her first years at Mataura and then her family moved, with a short stop at Titahi Bay before settling in Porirua. The family returned to Southland and settled in Invercargill. Pauline now lives in the seaside town of Aparima-Riverton with her husband Geoff.
Pauline was educated at seven primary schools throughout the country which gave her great empathy for children who are also transient. She found that this was the driving force to her becoming a teacher, and completed a Diploma in Teaching at Dunedin College of Education, Southland Campus. After teaching for a number of years she trained further to achieve a Bachelor of Education and became a lecturer at the University of Otago, College of Education. Specialising in Pacific Studies, she developed a passion for Pacifica histories with a special interest in the Dawn Raids and the work of the Polynesian Panthers which was to become the backdrop for her first book My New Zealand Story: Dawn Raid
(Scholastic New Zealand, 2018).
Currently, Smith is the director of the Miharo Trust, based in Invercargill. She is a founding member of the Trust which delivers a week long Polyfest in Murihiku/Southland and a Polyfest in Queenstown for the Central Lake district. The Trust also facilitates a full year programme of events that uplifts youth, arts, culture and education bringing leading artists, innovators and educators to the region.
Pauline received a Member of New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the 2021 New Years Honors for services to Pacific Art and the community.
- My New Zealand Story: Dawn Raid (Scholastic NZ 2018)
- Finalist New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young People 2018 Esther Glen, Junior Fiction Award
- Finalist New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young People 2018 Best First Book Award
- Winner New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young People 2018 Best First Book Award
- Storylines Notable Book Award 2019