Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - ELIZABETH KITE

Elizabeth Kite

Community Organiser / Founder of Tonga Youth Leaders / Pacific Youth Representative to the Commonwealth

Tonga

Elizabeth V Kite is the Founding CEO of Take The Lead (TTL), formerly known as Tonga Youth Leaders, a Non-Government Organization that focuses on empowering underrepresented groups in Tonga to lead in places of national decision making. TTL run’s various leadership programmes including the only annual mock parliament for young women and girls, She Leads Fale Alea ‘O Tonga. All TTL’s programmes are focused on harnessing the skills and talents of individuals that are often left unheard, so that they can lead in confidence, and have their voices recognised and heard.  Elizabeth also is the Pacific Regional Representative for the Commonwealth Youth Council, the world’s largest and most diverse youth group, with the council representing the 1.2 billion young people of the Commonwealth. 

The coco team got to chat with Elizabeth about the inspiring work that she does:

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Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - LUCY MATA'UTIA JARRARD

LUCY MATA'UTIA JARRARD

Competitive Surfer 

Samoan / French 

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My name is Lucy Mata’utia Jarrard. I’m a 19 year old competitive surfer from Carlsbad, California, but currently live in Oahu, Hawaii. In addition to my passion for surfing, I also enjoy activities such as hiking, skating, and sewing.  My pacific heritage is Samoan and French. My mother is Samoan while my father is French. 

You're the first Samoan female surfer to represent American Samoa Surfing Association - tell us how you got into surfing and how long you've been competing for.

I originally come from a water family, so all of our weekends and days off were spent together at the beach surfing and hanging out. It’s funny though because I actually didn’t even really like the beach. I think I was about three when I first started surfing, but I didn’t start enjoying it until I was about eight. My first contest was a Volcom series at about nine.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - JORDYN MORGAN

JORDYN MORGAN 

Teacher / Maori Student Learning Advisor / Singer 

Samoan / Maori 

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I’m Jordyn, my Dad is from Whāingaroa (Raglan) and my Mum is from Mulifanua Lalovi (Samoa). I’m married to Thomas Rapana who is from Ngā Puhi and we have a beautiful 4 year old, Toa-Awanuiārangi, who is the absolute best of both of us. 

My family homestead is in Otara, South Auckland, where my Mum and her siblings spent a lot of their childhood after moving from Samoa and my Nana still lives there today. I mostly grew up in South Auckland suburbs, spent a few years of my childhood in Wellington, but Otara will always be home.

At the moment I teach Te Reo Māori night classes and I am a Māori Student Learning Advisor at a theological tertiary institution. I’m passionate about identity, language reclamation and our people thriving in Aotearoa.

 

What were the pathways that led you to doing music/singing?  

My Dad is a Pastor and we grew up singing in Church, in Worship teams and just with the family.…more


Humans of the Islands

Savaii to the World | The Story of Faiesea Ah Chee

Faiesea Ah Chee is a 18-year-old Savaii girl at heart now living in the heart of Auckland city. She is a long way from her island home, so how has her journey led her here?

In 2003 Faiesea was born in Tuasivi and grew up all her life in the village of Fa’a’ala Palauli, Savaii. She was raised by a family of fishermen. Her grandfather and uncles would go out into the Moana every day. While she and her grandma would sit by their village selling the fish they had caught. There were six in her family and they would all rely on the ocean as a way of life. Faiesea went to school at Vaiola College to which she describes as “the best school”. She lived the picturesque island life; took from the ocean, gave back to the land, served her family, went to school in a neighboring village and her best friend was a turtle. 

In 2016 Faiesea’s world changed. Her family sadly lost her grandma.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - I AM WOMAN Magazine in Fiji celebrates International Women's Day 2021

International Women's Day 2021 - I AM WOMAN Magazine celebrates by "CHOOSING TO CHALLENGE"........


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - STEVE TAPA

STEVE TAPA 

OWNER & CO-DIRECTOR ON2 SPORTS MANAGEMENT 

TONGAN 

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Humans of the Islands

PRIDE - PASIFIKA STORIES - SHANEEL LAL

Shaneel Lal

(They/Them)

Activist/ Student/ Co-Founder of “End Conversion Therapy NZ”

Fiji

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Shaneel Lal is a multifaceted and intersectional activist. They have been vocal and influential in bringing to light various issues around racism, transphobia, indigenous land issues, systemic injustice and much more. Shaneel is a co-founder of the organisation “End Conversion Therapy NZ” and has been an avid voice around the need for a ban on Conversion Therapy. They’re currently a student at The University of Auckland, and on top of all that is actively educating people on social media on how to be more conscious citizens of humanity.

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

I am many things, but deep down, I am a young person who wants to change the world. I do not wish to be protected. I want to be free. And I want the same for my people. A young person who has seen, felt, and experienced too many things that I shouldn’t have.…more


Humans of the Islands

PRIDE - PASIFIKA STORIES - Teneva Ropati

Teneva Ropati

(She/Her)

Student/Basketball Player

Samoa

Teneva Ropati is a young Samoan woman from the villages of Taufusi and Vaivase. She was born in New Zealand and raised in West Auckland. Teneva is a passionate basketball player and on top of all this is proud to call herself “gay af”.

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

My name is Teneva Ropati, I’m 20 years old, Samoan and gay af lol.

Is Pride month something that you personally celebrate?

Absolutely! I  love the feeling I get seeing everyone be 100% themselves and not caring. Especially at Big Gay Out. I always feel so at home being around complete strangers. It’s odd but I understand it. I feel the most proud of our community during Pride month — and I’m pretty damn proud every other time of the year.

What has been your relationship with the phrase "coming out"?  Was “coming out” a process you had to go through with your family?

Bittersweet is probably the best word to describe my experiences.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - SILIKA ISAIA

SILIKA ISAIA 

2018 WINNER OF STAND UP STAND OUT & CURRENTLY STUDYING A BACHELOR OF MUSIC 

SAMOAN 

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Talofa Lava, I am a Pacific woman originating from the island of Samoa whose blood runs deeps within the soils of Fasito’otai, Toamua, Salelesi, Satui Malufilufi, Vaitele and Patamea Savai’i. My name is Silika Isaia and my greatest blessing in life are my Parents, my mother Leasi Levi Isaia and father Timoteo Isaia.

Born in Samoa, raised in Christchurch for the first half of my life, and now residing in Otara, never have I ever doubted my passion for music.

A two year old who landed in the land of milk and honey in 2004, with big brown eyes and curly short hair wearing a matching blue and white set that her nana bought her in Samoa, in awe of what I saw I had no idea that this place would foster my love for singing.

Similar to where all great stories began, my chapter one started in the House of the Lord and the first word of my book was God.…more


Humans of the Islands

PRIDE - PASIFIKA STORIES - Peyton Wolfgramm

In celebration of Auckland Pride Month, we're sharing Pasifika Pride stories.

Peyton Wolfgramm

(She/Her)

Doctoral Candidate/Councilor/Mental Health Advocate

Tonga 

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Peyton is a proud Tongan born in Auckland and was raised (and still resides) in Māngere. She is a daughter of migrants. Her father is from ʻUtungake, Vavaʻu and her mother is from Niutoua, Tongatapu. She is a sister to four brothers and one sister.  She is an aunty to nine nieces and nephews. Currently Peyton is a Doctoral Candidate at The University of Auckland, studying towards being a Doctor of Clinical Psychology. Weaved into this, she is a proud leitī.

As we know, this month is Pride month and we’d love to hear what “Pride” means to you?

Pride is the full acknowledgment of who one is. It includes the authentic expression and embodiment of oneself as an LGBTQIA+/MVPFAFF+ person in their unique context. But it also includes the ʻofa, acceptance and respect of friends, family and allies.

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