Coco Talanoa — Humans of the Islands / Page 1
HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - NICK WILLIAMS
CO-OWNER & GENERAL MANAGER MATAI WATCHES
COOK ISLANDS / NIUEAN
My name is Nick Williams and I own half of the Pacific Watch company - Matai Watches.
My business partner Andrew is from Samoa, while I'm born and bred in West Auckland. My mother is of Niuean descent and my father is from the Cook Islands.
My responsibility is the day to day operations of Matai Watches, our company that we launched in July 2022 after five years of development.
What were the pathways that led you to getting into designing/making watches?
It came from many years of failed ideas as entrepreneurs. I have personally tried my hand at loads of different side hustles and legitimate businesses, but looking back they were all learning phases. Nothing has come close to the responsibility and brand awareness quite like this one. This is the first business where I feel we are at peace - spiritually, mentally and financially.
The idea was to have a product we could call our own, and as the story goes ...…more
WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - 'ANAU MESUI-HENRY
CO-OWNER OF THE FOUR SHELLS KAVA LOUNGE & MERCHANT OF THE MOANA
Si’oto’ofa kainga oe moana. Ko hoku hinoga ko ‘Anau Mesui-Henry mei Tonga, my name is ‘Anau Mesui-Henry from Tonga.
I am a proud Tongan born and Mangere raised fefine. I am the co-owner of the Four Shells Kava Lounge located at Victoria Park Markets in Tamaki Makaurau and work as a full time Merchant of the Moana aka Pacific entrepreneur.
What was the inspiration behind starting Four Shells and the pathways that led to you starting your own business?
My inspiration has always been my parents. I grew up experiencing the hustle of the migration to Aotearoa and the navigating of foreign social systems. I watched my parents work hard, make money from nothing and set themselves up as best as they can with the little they had in their hands. They were super resourceful.
HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - BLOODY SAMOAN
Comic Book Artist, Professional Wrestler and Owner of 'Bloody Samoan Art' Company
We got to hear from multidisciplinary artist Michel Mulipola also known as Bloody Samoan, about the amazing work he has been doing since our original Humans Of The Island profile on him in 2016. Since then he has accomplished a long list of achievements including working on an exciting new project with Disney.
Hear about Michel's work here...
You've been working with Disney this year, what has that experience been like for you?
Working as a Story Artist for the Disney Animation Studios has been an absolutely fantastic experience for me. As I have no background in the animation field, the challenges presented by this new (to me) medium has pushed my creative limits in a good way. I have learnt so much over the last 6 months from everyone in the Story Team.
I've been fortunate to be able to work from home in Māngere for Disney but I was lucky enough to work from the Disney Animation Building in Burbank, Los Angeles in November/December.…more
HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - JAROM SU'A
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.
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 - WAN SQUAD
Papua New Guinea
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
WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - KIRSTEN FISHER MARSTERS
Kirsten Andrea Fisher-Marsters
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 - Eric Blanc
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
WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - PŌHAIKEALOHA P
Media Producer / Indigenous Story teller
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 - TAITU’UGA KITCH WESCHE
TAITU’UGA KITCH WESCHE
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 - JUNIOR AUMAVAE
CHIEF EQUITY OFFICER
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.
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.