Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - JAROM SU'A

Jarom Su'a

Producer/Songwriter 

Samoan/Argentinian/Mexican 

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My name is Jarom Su’a. I’m a 16-year-old producer/songwriter and artist based out of Florida/LA. I was born in Utah but later moved to Florida when I was very young. I’m a mix of Samoan and Argentinian/Mexican.

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What were the pathways that led you to doing music and ultimately making beats and the producer side of things?

I remember being little and always loved music - I was 11 years old when I was in the car, and I heard “Are You That Somebody” by Aaliyah & Timbaland; I just wanted to know how people make the beats of these songs I hear on the radio—I was hooked! I remember going home and practicing; I bought Timbaland’s online Masterclass. If you listen to my music, you can hear the Timbaland influence, and I think it’s what shaped the way I make music forever but while still staying true to my own sound.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - WAN SQUAD

Wan Squad 

Dancers

Papua New Guinea 

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Wan Squad are a Papua New Guinea based dance crew made up of 6 - Pyan Ng Manager and Creative Director, David Chee dancer & crew leader and Fred Mathew, Joel Vene, Max Raoma & Lloyd Nadile who are all dancers.

We caught up with Pyan Ng, Wan Squad's Manager and Creative Director after they'd competed at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Arizona last week.

How did the group start and how long have you been together? 

The group was formed in 2018 (08.08.18), I had recently just moved back to PNG to help my father with his business and I had just met David Chee who had a dream to travel/compete on international stages and he asked if I would be interested in coaching him to take a team to the Hip Hop Internationals.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - KIRSTEN FISHER MARSTERS

Kirsten Andrea Fisher-Marsters

Swimmer

Cook Islands

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Kia orana, I'm Kirsten Fisher-Marsters. I am a competitive swimmer. I represent my fathers side of the family who are Marsters from Palmerton Island in the Cook Islands. I have alot of love for both New Zealand and the Cooks and if I am asked where I feel at home, it would be wherever my family is.

What has your experience been like representing Cook Islands at the Commonwealth games?

Everytime I put my Cook Islands uniform on, I feel honoured. What I love about the Commonwealth Games is being with fellow kukis from different sports. We have a very special team spirit and when I hop on the blocks ready to race I want to do well for my team and for my country, we are there for each other to celebrate our achievements and support eachother if things don't quite go our way. That's why I love representing Cook Islands.…more


Humans of the Islands

Humans of the Islands - Eric Blanc

Eric Blanc 

Creative 

Samoan 

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My name is Eric Blanc and I am a creative. I am of Samoan heritage and was raised in both Auckland New Zealand and Brisbane Australia.  

What were the pathways that led you to what you’re doing now?

The pathway was a long, tough and Challenging. As an assistant stylist to creative director Sammy Salsa in 2010 there was a lot for me to learn and absorb, and that I did, but moving back to Brisbane Australia in 2012 there was no opportunities for a brown guy like me in the industry.  

I decided to take a step back from the fashion industry to focus on rebuilding my brand, networks and relationships through the music industry working for Full Clip Radio.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - PŌHAIKEALOHA P

Pōhaikealoha P

Media Producer / Indigenous Story teller 

Hawaiian

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Tell us about yourself. What places do you call home and how do you like to be introduced to the world?

Aloha! My name is Pōhai and I am Kanaka Maoli. My ohana hails from Hawaiʻi on the island of Oʻahu. Kaʻala is our mountain range and Mākaha is our home, where I currently live and create out of.

First and foremost, I consider myself a storyteller or haʻi moʻolelo. Fittingly, the story of my name is linked to my sense of self so I love when it’s the first one I get to tell. The mo’olelo, or story of my name, is derived from both definition and introspection as pō is the night sky and Pōhaikealoha is the circular nature of love, how it surrounds and gathers, how it comes back around to the start. The stories I find myself drawn to tell often have themes of space, the stars, and of course, love.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - TAITU’UGA KITCH WESCHE

TAITU’UGA KITCH WESCHE

CREATIVE ARTIST

SAMOAN

Where did you grow up? What was your bringing like?

We lived in Wellington, New Zealand before moving to Australia when I was around 10 years old in 1996 - where we lived in Logan on the south side of Brisbane. We were brought up in the church as are lots of Pacific Islander families!  We were part of the Samoan speaking ward of Beenleigh LDS church.

Both my parents spoke Samoan at home and instilled in us siblings different cultural protocols as in our fa’a Samoa and also fofō. As most Polynesian families, our parents were strict, trying to keep us grounded in our culture amongst the modern Western world. We were so lucky to be immersed in our culture at home, church and our Samoan community that resided on the south side of Brisbane.

How did you get your start in the creative space?

My passion was ignited from a young age. Family get-togethers, my uncles playing the guitar and singing.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - JUNIOR AUMAVAE

JUNIOR AUMAVAE

CHIEF EQUITY OFFICER

SAMOAN

Junior Aumavae is a former American football nose tackle. He was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Today he is serving as the Chief Equity Officer for the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska. 

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What are your home villages in both Alaska and Samoa?

I was born in American Samoa from the village of ili ili. I currently live in Anchorage, Alaska. 

You started your career in football during your earlier years.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - SHAR TUIASOA

Shar Tuiasoa

Illustrator 

Tongan

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Tell us about yourself - where you live and what inspires you in life? What do you love about being a Pacific woman in this space?

I live in Kailua, Hawai'i on the island of O'ahu.  My dad comes from the village of Ha'akame, Tonga on Tongatapu. He came to Hawai'i when he was 14.  I grew up in Hawai'i surrounded by Hawaiian and local culture, but I was really lucky to also be close to my Tongan family. My biggest inspiration in my art comes from Hawai'i. Of course I am inspired by the stories of all our Pasifika people, by our origins, by our ancestors, and by our nature, but Hawai'i is what I am most familiar with.  I am inspired by the shapes and patterns in our Tapa/Kapa and our Tatatau/Kakau. And I am also inspired by animation and pop culture. I love watching current illustration trends and seeing how they might relate to my perspective.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - KOULA TUITUPOU KUTU

KOULA TUITUPOU KUTU 

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, MEDIA & MARKETING FOR THE MINISTRY FOR PACIFIC PEOPLES 

TONGAN  

On Monday the 8th of November, the New Zealand Public Service Medals were awarded to ten people in a special presentation at the Governor General of New Zealands house.  The New Zealand Public Service Medal is awarded to public servants who have given meritorious service.  The medal recipients are people who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to New Zealand and New Zealanders, are exemplary, or a model for other public service employees, bring significant benefit to New Zealand or the public service and are exceptional and otherwise worthy of recognition.more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - ERIC SOAKAI

ERIC SOAKAI

POET

SAMOAN/TONGAN

Eric Soakai is a Samoan Tongan activist, artist and academic based out of South Auckland. In his artform Eric explores indigenous storytelling through his lense as a Polynesian man. 

The young and talented creative was featured in The Panthers Documentary where he shared a powerful spoken word piece.

We got to catch up with Eric and chat about his art, purpose and passion for telling indigenous stories through poetry.

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You did a powerful spoken word piece as part of the Panthers Rapp doco series - what was the essence of this piece and what drove you to write it? 

For me the essence of the piece is ‘ka mua, ka muri’. It is an expression of walking backwards into the future, of recognising we bring all that was of our gafa/whakapapa into a space of potentiality/ what will be. The way I was able to understand better the weight of what this carried was to learn the history behind the different names I carry.…more