Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - TESSA TEMATA

TESSA TEMATA 

New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands.

Cook Islands / Samoan 

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I can trace my Cook Island heritage back 26 generations to Kaitini Ariki, the eldest child of Uke who settled the island of Mauke.  My father, Tiatoa Temata, married my mother, Jane Crichton, whose aiga are from Asau in Samoa.   There is also a wee dram of Scottish voyager in there dating back to the 19th century when a sailor called William Crichton decided to settle in Samoa.

I was born and raised in Taranaki.  The seventh of nine children.more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - DARCIE PULAWA

DARCIE PULAWA 

CEO of Divergent Talent Management 

Native Hawaiian / Filipino 

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Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii to Benjamin Pulawa III and Danelle Pulawa. My father's family is of Native Hawaiian descent, deeply rooted to the Hawaiian genealogy, language, and culture. My mother's side of the family migrated from the Philippines. My father is a retired operators engineer and my mother is an artist and entrepreneur. She has owned and operated an archery store for over 30 years and enjoys playing classical guitar. I have a younger brother, Benjamin Pulawa IV, who lives in California. He owns a bridal hair and make up business; he's also a hair stylist, dancer, and performer. Currently, I am the CEO of Divergent Talent Management. Prior to talent management, I've attended multiple universities, owned businesses and studied the craft of acting while raising my children.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - THE ALATINI FAMILY

PATRICA, OCEAN & THE ALATINI FAMILY 

FAMILY FOOD FIGHT CONTESTANTS 

TONGAN / MAORI 

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I'm a mum of 8 and my heritage is Maori / Palangi  of Ngapuhi and Tainui descent.  Our children are Tongan and Rarotongan so we are very diverse in cultural flavours and recipes through family bloodlines.  Ocean is our eldest child and together we competed on a food show and were known as The Alatini family. Ocean is 26 yrs old and engaged to Vanel Ram. He is of Fijian Indian heritage.  We also have 2 grand-daughters that are Maori and Niuean / Samoan so we are pretty blended in a great way. 
My husband Sam and myself come from large Maori and Polynesian families. Originally from Manurewa and Otara we have strong ties with a number of sporting codes within NZ and Tonga.  Sam grew up in the village of Kolovai and immigrated to NZ when he was 9 years old, where he lived with his family on East Tamaki Road in Otara.  His Dad Malakai represented Tonga back in the 70s.…more

Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - TIANNA TUAMOHELOA

TIANNA TUAMOHELOA 

Miss Nevada USA 2019 

Samoan / Tongan / African-American / Japanese / Irish

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I grew up a Military brat where both of my parents were in the United States Army. I was born in Fort Riley, Kansas, moved around to about 4 states from the South to the West Coast and finally my parents retired to Las Vegas, Nevada where we have lived for the last 14 years. Though my 3 brothers and I grew up in the mainland, we were always reminded of where we truly come from. My parents Simi, Jr and Salamasina Nomura McMoore Timu Tuamoheloa hail from Illilli, Utulei and Lealoaloa, American Samoa. My father is Samoan/Tongan/African-American and my mother is Samoan/Japanese/Irish. 

How has your upbringing & culture shaped you into the woman you are today?
Being Samoan has taught me the most important value, and that’s respect.…more

Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - ASUELU PULA'A

Asuelu Pula'a from a little village in Falealili, Upolu, Samoa went viral around the world after appearing in the US TV show '90 Day Fiance' Season 6 with his fiance Kalani.

We check in with him to find out how he's enjoying his new life in America! 

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They just started their own Youtube Channel which you can subscribe to here and watch their first video about how they met below


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - VIRGINIA TO'ALEPAI

VIRGINIA TO'ALEPAI 

President - World Wide Safety Org

Samoan 

I was born and raised in Matautu, but I also had family from Saleimoa.  My Dad came to the States to check out the land of opportunities that we heard so many stories about.  A couple of months later, my Dad came back to Samoa and my siblings and I were sent to America.

Fast forward many years, I worked and networked in the construction industry like never before.  I loved the arena and my ex-husband and I opened our own business.  Unfortunately, our marriage did not last, so I left everything we built together to establish my own empire for my daughters and I.  I left him with $12 to my name & my girls and I had to move back to my parents’ house because I didn’t have the means to make it on our own.  I was determined to make it happen. 

I stepped out in faith and invested in my future by attending meetings, events and other gatherings with leaders in the industry.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - LUALIMA HANSEN

LUALIMA HANSEN 

AUTHOR / PACIFIC WOMENS REFUGE ADVOCATE

SAMOAN 

I was born in Samoa - Faleasiu, where my mother is originally from, with Irish Grandparents. My father is also from Samoa - Taungamanono, his father is Niuean and hails from Lakepa.

We moved to Auckland, New Zealand as children and we were raised in South Auckland. I am now married to Craig Hansen, we have three beautiful children and have spent 5 1/2 years in Jakarta, Indonesia, in a variety of ministry roles through our local church.

I have just recently published my autobiography book - Grace Brought Me Here. As a survivor of domestic violence, I am in New Zealand promoting it and working with the Pacific Islands Women's Refuge on a fundraiser event, where proceeds from my book launch will go towards supporting this great organization.

I also started an online clothesline business catered for plus size men ranging Size L up to sizes 10xl - The 3Bears Online, which has customers worldwide.more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - EMILY MULI

EMILY MULI 

SONGWRITER / MUSICIAN, PUBLIC SERVANT & SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCATE

TONGAN 

Mālō e lelei! I'm a proud ta'ahine of Moana Oceania hailing from the beautiful Kingdom of Tonga. My dad is from the village of Fua'amotu and my mum from the village of Kanokupolu. I was born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa, and am a songwriter/musician, public servant and social justice advocate. 


You've been opening for Aaradhna on her NZ tour this year - can you tell us how that came about and how you've found it? 
Connections! One of my closest muso brothers has been Aaradhna's keys player since last year, and he called me in February asking if I was keen to be one of her backing vocalists! I definitely did a double take and asked if he was sure (lol), but it was a huge honour.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - SHAKAIAH PEREZ

SHAKAIAH PEREZ 

MULTI DIMENSIONAL ARTIST

AFRO POLYNESIAN 

My name is Shakaiah Perez and I am a multi disciplinary artist of Afro Polynesian descent originally from Whanganui but raised in West Auckland. My work as an artist includes visual arts such as videography and photography which is layered with movement, performance and poetry. 

On my mother’s side I am Māori, Tahitian and Marquesan and on my father’s side I am Samoan, Tokelauan, Cape Verdean and Afro Portuguese. My heritage has a major influence on my work as an artist with hopes to encourage and inspire other people of colour by sharing our stories and re-writing the narrative that western society has written about us.more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - BEAU TAKAPU

BEAU TAKAPU 

FASHION DESIGNER / PROJECT RUNWAY CONTESTANT 

TONGAN 

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I’m a Tongan who actually grew up in the sparkling city streets of San Francisco. I originally studied there, and then journeyed over to New Zealand to continue my studies and to embrace my design work to a new part of the world.  I am 37 and have a very loving fiance Anton, who I am marrying early next year.  Currently I’m working for the New Zealand fashion brand WORLD and am about to venture into a new and confidential opportunity with them.

You were recently on Project Runway - how was that experience & how was it being a Pacific Islander on the show?
To be quite honest I thought I was going to be the only Pacifica designer on the show, but to my surprise there was a fantastic amount of both Pacifica, and Maori, representation. Being on the show was an amazing opportunity to be chosen out of so many and having a new format of debuting more of my artistry.more