Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - ELIZABETH JENNINGS-SCHUSTER

ELIZABETH JENNINGS-SCHUSTER 

FULL TIME MOTHER 

Samoan / Tokelauan 

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My name is Elizabeth Jennings-Schuster. I'm from Anaheim, California. I am Samoan & Tokelau. I grew up in Orange County, CA and I am a full time mom of 13 but I also work from home in the mortgage Industry to help make ends meet.

You're the Mum & Step Mum of 13 children - tell us about your blended family

In my previous marriage, I had 7 children of my own. I had 3 boys & 4 girls ranging in age from 10-22 years old - Aramie, Ahrize, Aaron, Ahzira, Aelarii, Aroen & Sev'n.

My husband had 5 in his previous marriage. He has 2 girls & 3 boys ranging in age from 7-17.  Sariah, Lawrence, Canaan, Gavin & Ari.

My husband and I have known each other since 1993. Life happened and we went our separate ways & now we've reconnected & have a child together. Our son Urban is 4 years old.  Which brings our total to 13 children.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - SAPATI APA

SAPATI APA 

SINGER/SONG WRITER & VISUAL ARTIST 

SAMOAN 

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I grew up moving back and forth from wellington to auckland, but every time I live in auckland, we’ve always stayed out south. I’m Samoan - both my parents are samoan, and at the moment I’m gigging with a couple of bands and also continuing work on my EP "Fraud"

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Has music and singing always being a passion & do you see yourself doing it full time one day?

I definitely see myself doing it full time at some point - but I also have a lot of other things I’d like to try in this lifetime. Music however, has always been there for me; it was a big part of my childhood and continues to be a big part of my life. It can be so therapeutic.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - DR LOANA TANIELU

DR LOANA TANIELU 

EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN & CONSULTANT MIDDLEMORE HOSPITAL 

SAMOAN 

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Born, raised and educated in Samoa, Dr Loana Tanielu who currently works as an Emergency Physician & consultant in Middlemore Hospital, South Auckland has been a godsend to Samoa in their greatest hour of need.  She has returned to Samoa as Clinical Lead of the NZ Medical Assistance Team and one of 42 New Zealand volunteers in Samoa working closely with Samoa medical staff to offer assistance since the measles outbreak with some on their second deployment. Dr Tanielu has remained behind after three rotations since she went over in November.  

A graduate of Samoa College and the National University of Samoa, Dr Tanielu also worked as a Science and Biology Teacher at Samoa College.  She then graduated from both the University of Auckland Medical School and the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science.  

She is especially passionate about improving Pacific health discrepancies both in NZ and Samoa.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - SELA MAKA

SELA TUPOU PATISEPA MAKA 

ENGINEERING STUDENT & 

PRIME MINISTERS PACIFIC YOUTH - INTERNATIONAL SCHOLAR AWARD RECIPIENT 

TONGAN 

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Sela is 20 years old and was born in Tonga. The first recipient of the King Tupou VI Coronation Scholarship and received recognition from Ministry of Foreign A airs and Trade as one of the top academic achievers in 2018. In her first year at Massey University, Sela was part of a team who won the Creative Solutions Award for the Wine New Zealand industry in her engineering project course. She was also selected as a summer intern in a global engineering consultancy GHD in Palmerston North.

Currently a mentor at Massey University Pasifika Students association, Sela hopes to inspire others and has previously tutored for the Amanaki STEM Academy. She joined Tonga Youth Leaders, a non-profit organisation focused on providing opportunities for the next generation of young leaders.

Sela is working towards becoming an experienced and chartered process engineer.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - QIANE MATATA-SIPU

QIANE MATATA-SIPU 

QIANE MEDIA & PHOTOGRAPHY, ARTIST, SOCIAL ACTIVIST & FOUNDER/CREATOR of NUKU 

COOK ISLANDS / MAORI 

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I was born and raised in the coolest multi-cultural, village-metropolis of Māngere. My family is from Ihumātao, of Te Waiohua ki Te Ahiwaru and Te Akitai, Waikato-Tainui and Ngā Puhi whakapapa, and from Rarotonga (Arorangi) and Mangaia (Temakatea, Oneroa). For 12 years I have worked across media as a journalist and photographer and, as a communications consultant. For the past 7 years I have run my business, Qiane Media + Photography working across this industry. I’m also an artist, passionate social activist (co-founding the Protect Ihumātao SOUL with 5 of my cousins to protect our whenua from development) and the founder and creator of NUKU.

My life wouldn’t be anything without my amazing family. My husband is a proud Tongan and we have been together 16 years this December.  We are parents to a gorgeous, head-strong almost 2 year old! 

I am staunch South Auckland, it is the place that moulded me into the woman I am today.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - DANIEL LEO

DANIEL LEO 

PLAYER WELFARE MANAGER - PACIFIC RUGBY PLAYERS WELFARE 

SAMOAN 

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Mum and Dad met in Samoa at a missionary school called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). I was born in Palmerston- NZ and throughout my childhood we moved around various Missionary bases  throughout the country. 

Eventually we settled in South Auckland where Mum & Dad trained missionaries of Pacific Island decent & heritage. Because of our culture and temperament, Pacific Islanders are some of the most effective missionaries in the world and it was awesome to grow up in that environment. There were games of touch in the park most evenings. I didn’t know it then but the skills I picked up then would take me a long way. Not just rugby-wise but learning to live in community with people of all backgrounds. 

I went to Auckland Grammar School. Every day I would walk past the honours board with the names of all those famous international rugby players who had studied at AGS. That board allowed you to dream.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - LANU FALETAU

LANU FALETAU 

LAWYER, MODEL & ACTIVIST 

TONGAN 

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Introducing Lanu Faletau who has just been selected as an Obama Leader for the Asia-Pacific Region with an announcement made today from Malaysia.  

My name is Lanu Faletau and I was born in Tonga and migrated to New Zealand for school when I was about 6 years old, I then moved back to Tonga briefly before permantly moving to New Zealand for boarding school when I was about 12 years old. I am so proud to represent two incredible nations and being able to call both countries ‘home’ is always an honour for me. More specifically, I am actually from a tiny island called Taunga and that’s located in Vava’u (an outer island of Tonga). So, I am a typical island girl! I love the ocean, I love to swim, I love the sun and of course relaxing. 

I come from a family of four, I have two older brothers; Inoke and Solo and one younger sister Sonata.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - MANUHA'APAI VAEATANGITAU

MANUHA'APAI VAEATANGITAU

INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTIST & 

PRIME MINISTERS PACIFIC YOUTH - ARTS & CREATIVITY AWARD RECIPIENT

TONGAN 

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Manuha’apai is 21 years old and of Tongan descent. A valued member of the Queer Moana Oceanic arts collective ‘FAFSWAG’ since 2016, alongside his peers, Manuha’apai continues to navigate and craft spaces that encourage the safe exploration and dissection of our shared experience.

Under the collective, he has collaborated with many artists throughout the Pacific arts community and have opened discussion - alongside artists Pati Solomona Tyrell and Sione Monu - for the re-instating of queer Pacific identities (fakaleiti, faafafine, akavaine, etc) into their respective social/cultural canons. This has provided opportunities to exhibit and perform both nationally and internationally, most recently in Vevey, Switzerland. Manuha’apai hopes to one day become a lecturer and help other Pacific peoples, specifically those of the Queer Pacific community.more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS: DEJEALOUS SILI PALOTA-KOPA

DEJEALOUS SILI PALOTA-KOPA

LAW & PACIFIC STUDIES STUDENT & 

PRIME MINISTERS PACIFIC YOUTH - COMMUNITY STAR AWARD RECIPIENT 

SAMOAN 

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Dejealous is 23 years old, of Samoan descent and is currently studying Law and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland. She has been an active volunteer, mentor and leader for a wide range of charities and organisations. From being the President of ASTRA Auckland (community service club), coordinator of health packs for Starship, being an ambassador for the Heart foundation, being a Marshall for the annual PRIDE Festiva and being a blood donor to shaking a bucket for the breast cancer foundation, all this was done out of her passion to love and serve others.

She’s always had a particular passion for working with youth with disabilities and for the past 5 years, has worked closely with the special needs community through volunteering for Recreate New Zealand, Star Jam, and the Auckland Down Syndrome Association. In 2016, she received the Sunpix Emerging Leadership Award, and more recently became the first runner up for the Miss Samoa New Zealand pageant.more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS: DEJEALOUS SILI PALOTA-KOPA

DEJEALOUS SILI PALOTA-KOPA

LAW & PACIFIC STUDIES STUDENT & 

PRIME MINISTERS PACIFIC YOUTH - COMMUNITY STAR AWARD RECIPIENT 

SAMOAN 

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Dejealous is 23 years old, of Samoan descent and is currently studying Law and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland. She has been an active volunteer, mentor and leader for a wide range of charities and organisations. From being the President of ASTRA Auckland (community service club), coordinator of health packs for Starship, being an ambassador for the Heart foundation, being a Marshall for the annual PRIDE Festiva and being a blood donor to shaking a bucket for the breast cancer foundation, all this was done out of her passion to love and serve others.

She’s always had a particular passion for working with youth with disabilities and for the past 5 years, has worked closely with the special needs community through volunteering for Recreate New Zealand, Star Jam, and the Auckland Down Syndrome Association. In 2016, she received the Sunpix Emerging Leadership Award, and more recently became the first runner up for the Miss Samoa New Zealand pageant.more