Humans of the Islands


Patrick Lee-Lo 

Publishing/Marketing & Advertising 

Samoan & Chinese 

I am involved in Media - Book publishing, marketing Digital Signs and Billboard advertising. I was born, raised and educated in Wellington. I am mainly of Samoan and Chinese heritage with a few other nationalities in the mix. 

You're the Marketing & Business Development Manager for 'Whats Cooking' do you cook yourself and what is your favourite Pacific Island dish?

Yes. I love to cook Italian food but because of what I do, involved in the foodie industry I get to try lots of different eateries and dishes. Obviously, I have my favourites.  My favourite PI dish is Oka - Samoan Raw fish done in Coconut Cream with fresh Taro.

What was your journey to get to this position and what were some of the struggles you had to go through?

I have enjoyed a varied business career in different industries - Electrical, Business Equipment, Retirement Villages, Facilities Services and now Media.…more

Health & Well Being

LAPI MARINER - A Healthy Lifestyle

Far beyond the physical benefits that a healthy lifestyle can bring, Lapi Mariner shares the importance of his health realities through his new lifestyle and current weight loss journey.

Popularly known as a prominent singer within the Pacific, the Father of 2 began his journey a year ago after an uncomfortable experience he had after one of his many performances.

“I was overseas in the US singing and noticed I was out of breath and had only just sung the first verse. So I got home and made a decision to make a lifestyle change.”

When returning to New Zealand, it was time to put it all to action. A year ago, Lapi got on board with former Heavyweight Professional Boxer, David Letele AKA The Brown Butter Bean, to help kick start his healthy lifestyle regime. This meant attending BBM WARD (Butter Bean Motivation) Boot Camp Classes 4-5 times a week, sticking to a healthy meal plan and drinking at least 4 litres of water a day. 

Like many would experience, it wasn’t an easy start.…more

Humans of the Islands



Tell us a little about yourself. 

My Name is Matiah. I am an artist with Māori, Tongan, and Norweigan heritage. I specialize in tattooing, tamoko and tatau. I am the middle child of three...I was born and raised Manurewa.

When did you first realise tattooing was more than a hobbie?

I was raised constantly surrounded by all forms of creativity. I never saw art as a hobbie - I just unconsciously did it as a form of expression.....The transition into tattooing really just presented itself to me when I had just finished high school and had no clue as to what I was going to do with my life lol. I was definitely curious about tattooing though and had been for quite some time.…more


Time with KJ Apa

Musician and actor KJ Apa shares about his childhood, his love for Samoa and staying connected with family.

Guest Writer


By Vanessa Trethewey

An exciting new initiative was launched earlier this week, giving hope, confidence and empowerment to South Auckland females.

Local tertiary provider Ignite Colleges teamed up with Dress for Success Auckland, a charity which provides free professional clothing, support, skills and mentoring to help women land jobs and build careers. Together they hosted a unique fashion show and pop-up clothing sale on July 31, attended by more than 200 people.

This is Dress for Success Auckland’s first foray into the South Auckland region, and according to its Executive Manager Margot Minett Earwaker it is just the beginning.

“We are delighted because this is the first event and pop-up sale we have ever had in South Auckland and we are just ecstatic about the response,” she said. “People were lining up before the doors even opened, and many of them have told me how fantastic they think it is. Dress for Success has been looking to come to South Auckland for some time and this is the start of things to come.…more


Love and Fiji

“At the time we first got together, it wasn’t the norm to be dating someone of the same sex as you, especially in Fiji. We both come from religious backgrounds. There were restrictions and we were questioned a lot". - Lavonne

From the island of Fiji, where religious and cultural restrictions affects how the LGBTQIA community are treated, comes the story of two women who fell in love, left the island, and returned 12 years later to celebrate their marriage.

Lavonne and Petrina, both from Fiji, met on the island 19 years ago. The attraction was instant, and the pair have been inseparable ever since; but the journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing. The attitude towards gay culture in Fiji, and the wider pacific is still a battle many are fighting.

Same sex marriage has been legally banned in Fiji since 2002, and hate crimes are unfortunately not uncommon. Despite this, Trina and Von, managed to push through the backlash and return to Fiji for a wedding celebration of their own.…more


Island Vibez Spring Tour 2018

Humans of the Islands


Madeleine Chapman

Staff writer at The Spinoff

Samoan, Tuvaluan, Chinese, American

My father was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, smack bang in the middle of America. All the rest of his family still live over there. My Mum is Samoan, with a Tuvaluan father and Chinese grandfather, and grew up in Elisefou. I have nine siblings and we were all raised under one roof until I was about eight years old. Growing up was...loud. Home was never empty and if you were fighting with one sibling there was always another one in the next room who'd be nice to you.

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer?  Was it something you always knew you wanted to do?

I was a big reader as a kid, mainly because Mum hated the TV so reading was a safe alternative. It also looked like homework so I got out of doing housework sometimes if I was reading. But even then I didn't think I was much of a writer.…more

Humans of the Islands






Talofa lava.
My name is Sam Puefua and I'm an Actor. I currently live in Long Beach, CA., but I'm originally from American Samoan, specifically from the village of Pava'ia'i. I was raised there until the age of 9yrs and than moved to United States and here in the State of California is where I've been ever since.

How long have you been in the entertainment industry and do you have a highlight or favourite experience in your career so far?
I have been in the industry for a little over 10yrs now. Started pursuing my acting career right after High School and ever since, I never looked back!
I actually have a few favorite highlights in which one of those highlights I got to work with my uso (Taylor Wily) and my sis (Sisa Grey) on my very first TV show, Hawaii Five-O! Traveling, Exploring Hawaii, visiting my aiga and all the while doing what I love? I couldn't have asked for a better first experience.…more


TAKURUA - Food and Feasts of the Cook Islands

“ We want to raise the awareness of our food as up there with the best in the world” - Rangi Mitaera- Johnson 

“It’s more than just having food in restaurants it's about a way of life and value of our planting, our farming, our fishing as part of the story of our food”

Wild goat from Atiu, pearl oyster meat from Manihiki, the Utu king of bananas and the prized purple swamp taro, just some of the extraordinary ingredients on the plate at a recent Takurua - the ancient way of feasting in the Cook Islands!

Chefs from around the Pacific gathered in Rarotonga to create the best of Cook Islands cuisine on an epic scale, with traditional foods sourced from all over the Cook Islands.

“We want to develop a culture of healthy food and healthy exercise lifestyles around food” says Metua Vai'imene from Cook Islands tourism.

The purpose of the spectacular event was to showcase the importance of returning to our indigenous diets, and eating from the earth rather then processed imported food.…more