Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - LORINA PAPALI'I

LORINA PAPALI'I 

Office Supervisor at Jewellery Co. & Co-Owner Zealous CrossFit 

NRL Player (Womens Warriors)

Samoan / European  

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I was born in Waikato and spent most of my school years in Newcastle, Australia.  I move back to NZ and lived with my Nana in Avondale and various places in Auckland and I now live in Te Atatu.


You recently made history becoming the first Mum & son duo with your son Isaiah representing in the NRL at the same club - can you tell us a bit about that journey?

It was a dream goal.  It was a hard path to get conditioned and league fit.  Life has been challenging, fitting it all in and bringing the energy each day.  That's when I reflect on how grateful I am for the opportunity.  I think of my son and husband and making them proud.  I'm embracing the journey.  Doing whatever it takes to be the best I can and represent well.more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - TUI EMMA GILLIES

TUI EMMA GILLIES 

ARTIST 

TONGAN / KIWI 

I am a full time artist who's favourite canvas to paint on is Tongan tapa cloth. I am a mother of three little humans aged 4, 9 and 10, and a mother to my two dogs and six cats. I grew up in the family home in Manurewa, South Auckland with my only brother. We were raised there by my loving tongan mother and complexed but loving palangi father who built the white picket fence and gate. The home still stands and I always call it home. Nine months ago my husband and I bought a beautiful big home in Kawakawa, Northland moving away from Manurewa and I became a Northlander.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - FAAMOANA LEILUA

FAAMOANA LEILUA 

Counties Manukau Steelers' Manager 

Samoan 

My name is Faamoana (Moana) Leilua. My late Father Lealali Taeatu Ieli hailed from the beautiful Fusi Safotulafai/Salelologa and my Mum Siufaga from Falevao/Falefa. My parents met in Avondale in the late 70s and made the move to Hamilton in the early 80s, where my family has laid their roots since. I am one of four (two sisters and one brother so fairly small for a Samoan family), a proud tamaita’i Sāmoa, and I’m currently contracted with the Counties Manukau Rugby Union as the Steelers Manager

You're currently the Team Manager for the Counties Manukau Steelers - can you tell us what this job entails? 

The role primarily deals with most off field matters for the players and the wider Management team.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - LEAH PAO

LEAH PAO 

Retail Manager / Model 

Niuean / Tongan 

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My name is Leah Pao aka the Queen of Tonga aka the Golden Girl. I am a proud descendant of the Pacific and I reign from the islands of Tonga and Niue. I am a retail manager and have recently embarked on my journey as a model. I’m a massive advocate for self love and believe that it is the medicine to heal the world. 

You recently walked NZ Fashion Week for the first time - how was that experience for you?

Walking in NZ fashion week was literally a dream come true. That was the ultimate goal for 2018 and when I walked my first show, I was overwhelmed with emotion because I REALLY DID THAT!!!!  I’m still emotional about it to be honest. Things like this don’t happen for girls like me that often, hence why I’m so emotional.  Not here for the lack of People of Colour but that’s the industry I guess out of all the 100s of models, I literally saw about 4 Pacific Islanders.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - RUANNA TAGALOASA-LETALU

RUANNA TAGALOASA-LETALU

NATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER - SOLOMON GROUP 

SAMOAN / NIUEAN 

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My name is Ruanna Tagaloasa-Letalu. I am 44 years old. My mother is half Samoan half Niuean. My mother comes from the village of Letogo, my father from the village of Sataoa Safata. I am married with two children both boys (16 and 5 years old). I work for Solomon Group and am the National Partnerships Manager and have been employed for four months. Previously I was employed by the Ministry of Social Development for 18 years. In the last 2.5 years of my work with MSD I was the Operations Manager for Ara (Auckland Airport Jobs and Skills Hub) which was the partnership between government and Auckland Airport to support the 30 year development of the Auckland Airport expansion.more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - EIPUATIARE TUA

EIPUATIARE TUA 

FOOD HARVESTER/GROWER, PHOTOGRAPHER & RED CROSS VOLUNTEER 

COOK ISLANDS 

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My aunt named me Eipuatiare.   As a child growing up in New Zealand, no one could pronounce my name.  To this day, it annoys me when people pronounce my name (or any pacific names) incorrectly. The remedy, my teachers at school shortened my name to Pua, with my parents’ permission.  Eipuatiare means Ei like lei, a garland of Puatiare flowers (Fagraea berteriana) that flourish on Rarotonga. I'm of Cook Islands descent, my Father, the late Iaveta Arthur is from the island of Mangaia, one of the oldest islands in Polynesia, from the district of Oneroa, Tavaenga and my mother the late Kimiora Mami Arthur of Rarotonga from Vaka Takitumu, Ngatangiia Muri.

I was born in Auckland and raised in central Auckland.  Lived my whole life in Herne Bay; previously a working class predominantly Polynesian stronghold and now one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Auckland City.  I had the privilege of holidaying in Rarotonga almost every year since birth.  I’m the second born of five children.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS: COCO SOLID

Coco Solid

Writer/Musician/Artist 

Samoan/German/Māori 

I'm Coco Solid, I'm a writer, musician, visual artist and general media-maker. My real name's Jessica Hansell and I'm Māori (Ngāpuhi) on my mothers side, and Samoan German on my fathers side. My German Samoan grandfather came to Auckland from Apia in the 1940's, the same time as my grandmother migrated from Rarotonga - although she was Samoan she was raised there. So I'm blessed to be a mixed Polynesian bag.

You're a prolific multi-disciplinary artist - what has the journey been like navigating these various creative fields? 

All the mediums I work in, engage with a genuine part of my personality - I also feel all forms of artistry are coming from the same place too. I definitely enjoy change and rotating hats. And I dig amateurism over expertise, identifying as a learner and a beginner especially as I grow and master certain things. It's really just about exploring new dimensions to yourself, I never tire of that.more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - ISAAC TUALAULELEI

ISAAC TUALAULELEI 

Professional Dancer, Instructor & Aspiring Choreographer 

Samoan 

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I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Seattle, Washington, West Seattle to be exact.  My Father (Mauri Tualaulelei) and Mother (Vera Taylor) met in their teenage years in San Francisco, California.  When my Uncle Joe Taylor (Rest In Love) got accepted to attend the University of Washington in 1982, his move inspired my entire family to move up North. My parents followed suit and married in Seattle after having my Oldest Sister, Chariese (Taylor) Schirmer.  I am the youngest when it comes to my Parents but altogether I am Number 5 out of 9.  When I was born, I was partially raised by my Aunty Diana Eileen Taylor "My Nana" (Rest in Love).  She is the primary reason why I actually dance and love it the way that I do.  She eventually had a son (Andrew) and he was automatically treated as our sibling as well. My Nana was a huge part of growing up and helping raise us.…more

Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS: Margie Apa

Margie Apa

CEO for the Counties Manukau District Health Board 

Can you tell us what this job entails for you and how you want to impact the health of Pacific people in particular?

My role is chief executive officer for the Counties Manukau DHB. What that means is that I am accountable and report to a board that is appointed by the Minister of Health. We receive funding from central government, about 1.7 billion dollars to provide health care services, and our purpose as a District Health Board is to protect, promote and support health care for people who are resident in the Counties Manukau District (so that’s largely South Auckland).

 As part of my job, I’m responsible for a DHB that employs just over seven thousand people who deliver health care across twenty sites in South Auckland. We also fund services like general practice, community based mental health providers and various organizations; so we are a funder and provider of health care services.more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - KALOLAINE FUNGANITAO

KALOLAINE LEPA TALIA ANNE TALEI LOUISE LOKOTUI FUNGANITAO 

Miss Heilala 2018 / Studying Arts (Maori & Pacific Studies) and Law

Tongan 

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Fakatapu mo e Hou‘eiki ‘oku me‘a ni,

‘Alā si‘i kāinga ‘o Tonga Masani

Kae fai atu ha fakafotufotulā

Ki he kaunanga ni mei he Kolongatatá

Uisa ‘alā mo si‘i Funga Matahivá

Kali-‘o-Paú ‘oku te manatuá

Mate ‘ofa kita he Funga Ofolangá

Ko e huli ‘apē ‘o e Kilikilitefuá

Fakama‘unga he Funga Fāuá

Ka ‘e ngalo ‘afē si‘oto mafu tefuá

Vai ko Latai mo e Hoositeá

Ko au Kalolaine Lepa Talia Anne Talei Louise Lokotui Funganitao

Hoto ‘ofa atu hoto ‘ofa fau

Ngata e tala ni kuo mahino atu.

I greet you by first acknowledging the homes of my ancestors.  This is one that I used in my Pre-Pageant Interview for the Miss Heilala Pageant. I am from the villages of Ha’afeva, Mo’unga’one, Ma’ufanga and Fua’amotu - Tonga.  I also have bloodlines from nations elsewhere, one of those being from Fiji, so Bula Vinaka to anyone hailing from there.…more