Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - ANE TONGA

ANE TONGA 

Artist/ Curator of Pacific Art & Inaugral curator of Pacific Art in Toi o Tamaki, Auckland Art Gallery

Tongan

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My name is Ane Tonga and I am from the villages of Vaini and Kolofo’ou. I was born and raised in Auckland-in Mount Wellington/East Side to be exact.

You and your older sister Nina are both Arts Curators in a major NZ gallery and museum - are you unicorns? How unique and important is this for Moana people? 

 Unicorns are closely related to horses and we’re Tongan so watch out, ha! All joking aside, Nina and I aren’t dissimilar to other Tongan and Pacific people; we are proud of our heritage and demand nothing less than excellence when it comes to the work that we do to serve indigenous and Pacific peoples.

In saying that, curatorial roles in Aotearoa are certainly coveted so that fact that my sister and I hold these positions is rare as much as it is political.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - TALIA'ULI LATUKEFU

TALIA'ULI LATUKEFU 

Actor 

Tongan 

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My name is Talia’uli Latukefu but most people know me as Uli. I’m Tongan, born and raised in Australia and I’m an actor. 

What were the pathways that led you to pursue acting? 

When I was about 21, I met a couple from church who were running a creative arts program for at risk youth in Brisbane, Australia. Id recently moved there from Sydney where I grew up. They were really inspiring. A small group of us devised a musical together with a local playwright. It was called Paradise - The Musical, mostly young Pacific Island cast and original music. It was a lot of fun. A few years later the director emailed me about an audition for a play. I auditioned and got the role, that role lead to another audition and a small tour.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - PRISCILLA TUALA-FATA

PRISCILLA TUALA-FATA 

CLAIMS ADMINISTRATOR & BODY BUILDER 

SAMOAN 

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Talofa Lava, my name is Priscilla Tuala-Fata.

I am 42 years old and I am the eldest twin out of my sister and I, and the second oldest in our aiga. I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and lived there until the age of 6, then we moved to a much smaller town called Hastings. I am now living in Flaxmere, Hastings where I spent most of my life as a young child to adolescent and now as an adult. I have four children, the oldest being 19 currently attending Victoria University of Wellington and the youngest being only 6 years old. I attended Flaxmere Primary School, Flaxmere Intermediate and Hastings Girls’ High School. My experience at Hastings Girls High School was a great one. I participated in volleyball, basketball and the pasifika group which helped me to make lasting friendships and also helped me to build a stronger connection with my Samoan culture. I work at Choices Kahungunu Health Services as a Claims Administrator for the Midwives.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - TEUILA BENIONI and TERESA ATUA FAU

TEUILA BENIONI and TERESA ATUA FAU 

Co-Founders of Weddings She Wrote Ltd 

Samoan & Cook Islands (Teuila)  Samoan (Teresa) 

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Teuila:  My name is Teuila Benioni, I am the Founder & Creative Director for Wedding She Wrote Limited. I consider myself the "architect" of the business. I design, plan and deliver all of our unique, once-in-a-lifetime events across Aotearoa & the Pacific Islands; together with our lovely clients and my dedicated team. I am of Samoan (Satapuala, A'ana and Matatufu, Lotofaga) and Cook Islands (Reureu, Aitutaki) descent.

I grew up in Otara, South Auckland, attended Auckland Girls Grammar School, and I am the eldest and only daughter of my parents, with two younger brothers and one handsome son (14 years) who have all attended St. Pauls College, Ponsonby, Auckland. I think getting an education in a high school outside of South Auckland - broadening my horizons, and also growing up in 'the hood' — seeing the struggle, have been fundamental to my entrepreneurial spirit — when the going gets tough, the tough keep going.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - TUPOU VEIOGO

TUPOU VEIOGO 

ACCOUNTING STUDENT & 

PRIME MINISTERS PACIFIC YOUTH - COMMERCIAL and CORPORATE AWARD RECIPIENT 

FIJIAN 

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Tupou is 20 years old and was born and raised in Fiji. He is currently studying Accounting at Massey University in Palmerston North. Tupou has achieved
academic success by receiving a certificate of excellence in Intermediate Financial Accounting in his second year of study. He was also given the
opportunity to intern with Cotton Kelly Services, an audit firm in Palmerston North. He has been involved in supporting the Massey Pasifika Club
Association as an executive, as well as contributed to their cultural events and festivals.

With a keen interest in extending his audit skills and knowledge capacity, Tupou’s future goals and aspirations is to become an accountant.more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - LESINA NAHKID-SCHUSTER

LESINA NAHKID-SCHUSTER 

Doctor & the first Bachelorette New Zealand 

Samoan / German / Trinidad & Tobago / Lebanese 

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How do you feel about being the first Bachelorette in New Zealand?

I'm extremely honoured to be New Zealands very first Bachelorette!! To be able to have a female in the drivers seat for the very first time is amazing, and to be able to spearhead this format is exciting. I'm also nervous about the overall journey - venturing in to the unknown can be a life changing and nerve racking thing! 

How important did you think it was to be a woman of colour and to be in this space?

I think it's an absolute reflection of the times and also of the diverse population that New Zealand has, that a woman of colour was chosen to be a Bachelorette.…more


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