ISLE Class of 2020: Pasifika Excellence Edition

Aysha Nanai-Leifi launches her first-ever print issue as Editor-In-Chief of ISLE Magazine. In only a few days the first batch of pre-orders for the magazine has sold out and the in-demand restock is running out fast. The new print issue is based around the CLASS OF 2020: ISLES School of Pasifika Excellence. The class presents 21 rising stars ranging from Actors, Activists, Rappers, DJs, Film Directors and so much more. ISLE Magazine is a new independent online and print publication. Its mission is to spotlight and empower Pasifika excellence. 

Editor-In-Chief Aysha Nanai-Leifi is a 23-year-old artist and activist of Māori and Sāmoan descent. She was born in Wellington and raised in Melbourne. In the past year, Aysha has been featured in VOGUE Magazine and has even presented on online broadcasts with big American stars like Issa Rae. That is just the tip of the iceberg of work and projects that this rising star has done. 

Our coco team connected with Aysha and got to hear about the success that has been ISLE Magazine.…more


No Pacific voice with recently announced Pharmac review

The president of the Pacific Pharmacists’ Association, Kasey Brown, is disappointed that a government led Pharmac review has not consulted her organisation or has not included a Pacific representative on its panel, especially when one of the issues they will be addressing is equity amongst Pacific people.

Pharmac is the government’s drug buying agency and decides what lifesaving and life transforming drugs are made available to New Zealanders. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little announced a panel of experts will lead an independent review of the agency, focusing on the timeliness and transparency of decision making. It will also consider the issue of equity, including access to medicines and medical devices for Pacific communities.

Brown, who is also a member of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA), is one of 38 Pacific pharmacists in New Zealand and she is disappointed that there is no Pacific representation on the panel to give a voice to the 300,000 Pacific people in New Zealand.…more


Localising Agri-Tourism; bringing home Tourism

Via Fine Mat Creative 

The outlook for Samoa’s tourism sector remains bleak and uncertain, leaving the Hospitality and Tourism providers scrambling for the domestic dollar, to soften a devastating blow dealt by the COVID19 global Pandemic.

Agritourism, on the other hand, is making an unlikely debut on this troubled scene, and could hold the key to rebuilding a more resilient and sustainable tourism model for the future of Samoa and the Pacific.

At least that’s what one cacao farmer and agritourism entrepreneur believes. Owner and operator of Ms Sunshine Organic Farms, Floris Niu says;

“Agritourism is a very simple idea, service or product. It is about taking your farm, plantation or garden along with your produce, and the everyday activities of life on the farm, and putting it on display.”

“Since its debut in the Pacific less than 10 years ago, agritourism has been mostly associated with the farm-to-table concept, where pacific food was gaining more attention and demand from the tourism sector. It was not showcased as a farm/food experience on-site.…more


Miss Pacific Islands joins our busy vaccination team at the frontline

Over the past couple of weeks, New Zealand has commenced its COVID-19 immunisation programme. Amongst the hardworking staff administering the vaccines is a familiar face to the Pasifika community, the multitalented Fonoifafo Mcfarland Seumanu. She is not only a registered nurse and vital frontline worker, but she is also the reigning Miss Samoa and Miss Pacific Islands. 

Fono has spent her reign serving within the health sectors in both Samoa and New Zealand. In 2019 she was a key part of the team that implemented the mass measles vaccination program following Samoa's measles epidemic. Fast forward to 2021, she is still playing an important part in public health programs. Fono is one of the few independent authorised vaccinators in New Zealand that has undergone special training which allows her to vaccinate with the Pfizer vaccine.…more


Love Letters to South Auckland

South Aucklanders may have been feeling disheartened by the shade thrown around around this week in the wake of the Papatoetoe Covid outbreak, but despite the constant negativity sent their way, that Southside tenacity has been shining through.

We all know how resilient our aiga there have been, in withstanding living around the biggest border entry and being the home to most essential workers. 

Image above of a group of students from South and wider Auckland who peacefully marched through Otahuhu in a display of inter-school solidarity last year.

Although many have turned to online negativity, a bunch of people have also come to South Auckland's defense. People like Auckland Councillor on the North Shore, Richard Hills tweeted a thank you to South Auckland a few days ago.

Counties Manukau District Health Chairperson Vui Mark Gosche said to media recently: “New Zealand owes a debt of gratitude to these people, to the constant, ongoing work they do, without complaint. They just get on and do it.”

He also singled out the local Māori and Pacific healthcare workers.…more


Samoan poet Tusiata Avia a finalist for the prestigious Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

Acclaimed Samoan poet, performer and children's book writer, Tuisiata Avia has made the shortlist for the prestigious Mary and Peter Biggs Award for poetry which carries prize money worth $10,000 and is part of the annual Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

We talk to her about her nominated book 'The Savage Coloniser', representation and more here - 


What is The Savage Coloniser Book about and what drove you to write it?

Colonisation - particularly in the Pacific - and its LONG term effects on us. Racism (which is Colonisation's brother). They are the main themes - I also talk about illness, Covid, jealousy and a bit of sex for good measure lol  These are things I have always felt strongly about.

How different is it to your other work?

I've been talking about these things - in slightly different ways - for years. This is my 4th book of poetry - in some ways. I think this is my strongest. I don't hide anything. I speak straight to the coloniser. Straight to the racist.…more



Yesterday the New Zealander of the Year – Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa team announced the list of finalists for the prestigious awards. The six categories of the awards cut down their nominees to a final three, from a list of thousands of nominations.

Amongst the list of 18 finalists were 3 Pacific islanders. Aigagalefili Fepulea’i Tupua’i and Mataio Brown are finalists in Kiwibank's New Zealand Local Hero of the Year category. While Brianna Fruean is a finalist in The University of Canterbury’s Young New Zealander of the Year category.

We introduce you to your 3 Pacific finalists and how they're feeling about this monumental announcement. 


BRIANNA FRUEAN - Environmentalist and voice of Pacific Youth on climate change.

Finalist in The University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year - Te Matatahi o te Tau award 

Brianna Fruean has been campaigning for climate justice for most of her life.…more



Mariner Fagaiava-Muller


Journalist/ Grassroots Advocate/ Artist

Samoa & Tonga

Mariner Fagaiava-Muller is a young and vocal Pacific Islander who is passionate about people, culture, indigenous storytelling and youth advocacy. He is a current Journalist at TVNZ, using his passion of being a tusitala to narrate powerful truths. Mariner is proud to be South Auckland-born and bred, single mum-raised and Decile 1 schooled.


If you could have the world's full attention, how would you introduce yourself?

You’d probably hear me before you see me. Either the classic hyena styles laugh or the pressure cooker silence meets asthma attack laugh - that’s me. My name is Mariner but everybody just calls me Maz. Born and raised in Māngere East. Strongly rooted however in the villages of Iva, Lepa and Saleaula in Samoa, and Nukunuku in Tonga. 

What is “Pride” to you?

Pasifika peoples are inherently proud. We stand strong on the motherland we descend from, the shoulders of our giants, the stories of us navigating seas.…more


Church ministers have key role in sharing Covid-19 Vaccine message

Church leaders within the Pacific community have played an important role in spreading the health messages during the Covid-19 pandemic and we will need their support to endorse the benefits of vaccinations, says a leading Pacific doctor.

Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) member and General Practitioner at The Fono, Dr Natalie Hopoi, completed her Master’s in Public Health at the University of Auckland in 2018. Her thesis focused on the role that Samoan Methodist church ministers played in promoting health literacy within their congregation.

Dr Hopoi chose this topic because she was raised in a Samoan speaking Methodist church herself and knows the influence of church ministers in our community.

“The majority of Pacific people are Christian and rely on the messages received by their church ministers to make important health decisions for themselves and their families.”

As the world is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Hopoi says it is important that our church ministers are fully informed about the Covid-19 health guidelines and are educated about the vaccines, which started rolling out in New Zealand last week.…more


COVID-19 vaccines – Keeping our families safe

As New Zealand prepares to roll out the first lot of Covid-19 vaccines tomorrow, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, says he hopes there are good vaccination rates amongst the Pacific community to strengthen their resistance of Covid-19.

Dr Bloomfield and a panel of Pacific health clinicians who are also members of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA), spoke at a national zoom talanoa last night attended by over 600 Pacific church, community, and youth leaders. Hosted by the Hon. Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples, the focus was on providing information and answering questions regarding the Covid-19 vaccinations.

Dr Bloomfield said, “We are adamant that we do not want New Zealand being the route where Covid-19 gets into the Pacific.

In preparation for our Covid-19 vaccination campaign, we are thinking not just about New Zealand but about our Pacific neighbours, and in particular the countries across the Pacific region.…more