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

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

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

Humans of the Islands


Lucy Tupu


Furniture, Rug & Lighting Designer.

Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand.  My father is from the village of Falelima, Samoa.  I studied industrial design at RMIT in Melbourne and have been in the design industry for over 20 years. I was fortunate enough to open my own design studio in October 2016. We design custom rugs/carpets, furniture and lighting.  Living in NYC for the past 14 years with my husband and two beautiful girls.

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

I have always enjoyed art and have sketched and drawn my entire life. I first discovered industrial design at Wellington Polytechnic 1992 where I completed a 6 month foundation course. I loved every minute of it and I knew as soon as I finished the course this was what I wanted to pursue.

What spurred your initial move to New York?

I came to visit my older brother who is a landscape architect and had been living and working in NYC for 10 years.…more

Humans of the Islands

Humans of the Islands - Angela Tiatia

With Samoan and Australian heritage, NZ-born Angela Tiatia is an award winning Multimedia artist. 

Last week Tiatia was awarded Australia's richest women's art prize valued at $35,000, for her video work 'The Fall'. 

What's cool about being a video artist?  

It's exciting and challenging as each new work needs to be approached differently each time. The process is dependant on being very social - so I get to meet and work with lots of amazing people.  

Tell us about some of the themes in your work? 

Wow... a big question... in short... I look at how the Pacific body/place/experience has been stereotyped through images/media/popular culture/art over the last 150 years.  Within this time frame, I explore ways in which I can challenge these stereotypes and create new narratives and imagery. As well as this, I also look at the universality of the human experience and the human condition that binds us all.more

Humans of the Islands

Humans of the Islands - Vea Mafile'o

"Vea Mafile’o is an artist of Tongan, Māori and Scottish descent who
works primarily in moving image and installation...Mafile’o continues to work as
a filmmaker and is co-founder of the company Malosi Pictures. She is
currently developing her first feature film, which is due to be released later this
year." - Ane Tonga 

What is "Digital Launima"? 

The name of this work is "When will I see you again" , it is a digital Launima. A Launima is a term that indicates the length of a tapa cloth/ngatu which is made up of 50 Langanga. This piece is part of my digital Koloa series of works. These works are based on the traditional fine mats, tapa cloths and other forms of Koloa faka-tongthese are made and collected as gifts for birthdays, weddings, funerals and other ceremonial and celebratory occasions.

A Tongan woman builds her collection of koloa faka-Tonga over a lifetime. Often women work in groups making one item for one woman at a time.…more

Humans of the Islands


Joey "Q" Quenga 

Owner/Creative Director of Island Block Radio 



Tell us a bit about yourself 

My name is Joey Quenga but most people know me as “Q”.  I am co-owner of Island Block Radio where I have many hats, producer, creative director, on-air personality as well as program director.  

I grew up in Long Beach, CA., which is a city in Los Angeles County.  

My family is from the village of Talofofo on Guam.more

Humans of the Islands





My name is Sepelini Pati Mua’au and I am a New Zealand born Samoan. I am the youngest of 4, my mother is from the village of Falelatai and my father from Levi-Saleimoa. I was raised in Wainuiomata, completed my Secondary schooling at St. Bernard’s College in Lower Hutt and tertiary education at Victoria University of Wellington. I currently work at Victoria Univeristy in the School of English, Film, Theatre & Media Studies as a support tutor for 100-level Maori and Pasifika students, I also tutor for the theatre programme and write plays on the side.

You have a Master of Arts in Theatre - What did that degree entail and why do you think you were drawn to theatre?

Theatre definitely started off as an interest, like many Samoan parents, ideally they wanted me to be a lawyer or doctor. In 2010, my last year of College, I was fortunate enough to travel to London to perform on the Globe Theatre stage, so my family knew there was something there for me.…more

Humans of the Islands


Marco Alosio



My name is Marco Alosio and I'm an actor. I was born and raised in Wellington, NZ. I am of full Samoan descent. My Father is from Levi, Saleimoa and my Mother from Falefa, Anoama'a. 

How did you find yourself in the entertainment industry?

I've always loved being in the Arts but at the same time, have always been too afraid to admit it. Attending St Patricks College, Silverstream which is a big all-boys school with a dominant rugby culture; there were only around 7 guys in the drama department across the whole school.

I remember needing one more subject to fill up my NCEA schedule and my English teacher at the time (who was also the school drama teacher) said to me, "why not have a go at drama?" I laughed and answered "Hell no miss. All the boys will think I'm gay!". And to that she replied: "I'll get you lunch and we'll keep it a secret." 

I told her she had me at lunch and the deal was sealed.…more