Pacific Blog

Poetik's 'Big Village' Grand Opening in Avondale

'If you're from the hood, you gotta be in the hood'

Samoan rapper Poetik has recently opened up a retail store, 'Big Village,' in Avondale, West Auckland in what he hopes to be a space for the Pasifika community to come together, be creative and share a space. Check out the opening day! 🎤🌺

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Pacific Blog

Kete Moana: Ta'i Paitai's Creative Tribute to Tradition and Healing

By Loveni Enari

To know, know, know him ... is to love, love, love him - the Teddy Bears from 1958 - beautiful song. Think about your friend list and think whose name you could possibly associate with it.

I challenge anyone, but anyone, who's a friend of Ta'i Paitai’s, to listen to that song and say it's not perfect for him!

Central City Library Artist in Residence, kete-weaver extraordinaire, prestigious dancer, Ta'i Paitai, that is.

You meet him, you think what an extraordinarily nice person, you tell someone who knows him and their reaction?

You get what I call that false Auckland voice (except it's real with Ta'i), 'Ooohhhh but he's lovely! What a lovely guy. He's so nice. He's amazing. Oh isn't he adorable'

Blah, blah, blah.

The first five people I mentioned his name to had that exact same reaction. 100%.

In three words - in bloody credible!

More incredible is his work as an artist.…more

Pacific Blog

The Enduring Impact of Willie Los'e: A Year of Reflection

By Loveni Enari

A year out of a person’s life may not be such a long time but when it’s a year since the sudden death of a loved one, it takes on a special significance.

When that person was a six foot four and 120kg larger than life type, who exuded colour and vibrancy, the dark emptiness is sharpened.

Willie Los’e, the first Māori-Tongan, Pasifika, sports show host on New Zealand radio, was that guy. He died in still unexplained circumstances while working in South Africa and, for those close to him, explanations at this stage are simply no longer necessary. He’s gone and no research by coroners is going to bring him back.…more

Pacific Blog

Pacific Success: Voices of Pacific students featuring The Rise UP Academy.

In 2018 & 2019, the Rise UP Academy primary school in Mangere were part of Ngā Tau Tuanguahuru (‘looking beyond for ten more years’), a longitudinal study of Māori and Pacific educational and family success.

77 Pacific students aged between 5-19yrs of age from five South Auckland schools (including the Rise UP Academy) were asked what success and 'doing well' means to them - what helps, what stands in their way and how they overcome barriers to success and doing well.

Last week the researchers who are funded by Foundation North held a special screening of a short video they had put together to share the results from the study which captured the voices of Pacific students. 

The celebration and screening was held at the Mangere Arts Centre and attended by both the students who had taken part in the study as well as their families.…more

Pacific Blog

Breaking Barriers and Chasing Dreams: The Walton Brothers

By Loveni Enari

The Waltons was a 1970s TV series that became world famous while the Jacksons were simply world famous. Now there are some new Waltons on the scene but unlike the country folk from the series, this family are definitely more Jacksons in style!

Meet brothers Bowie and Kaia Walton.

From Byron Bay in Australia they are of Polynesian, Melanesian and white Australian stock, and they are about to Rock you. Well Bowie already is, playing the role of Roman Reigns in the series, The Young Rock.

'It was funny because I had to yell it out at first,' says 11 year old Bowie, referring to his shouting at the screen, 'Acknowledge me!'

'The best thing about it is the experience, because each time you do something you have more experience and you can go on and do more.'

Bowie talks the talk on the screen, but he also walks the sports walk.…more

Pacific Blog

Celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop

August 11th 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of hip hop - an art form that has helped influence so much of pop culture in the USA where it was birthed and around the world even down to tiny island nations & communities in the South Pacific.

Hip hop historians are able to pinpoint the date because a party in the Bronx on August 11th 1973 was when DJ Kool Herc debuted his 'merry go round' technique of playing funk breaks back to back.  The event inspired DJs, breakdancers, graffiti artists, and eventually MCs in the early 80s which is when the culture spread beyond New York.

To honour the legacy and influence of this now global culture, we asked a number of our Pasifika hip hop artists who their all time favourite hip hop artist is or who would be the most influential hip hop artist in their career.

We start with Gawtti from the legendary Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E (the group of Samoan brothers who are celebrated as the pioneers of Samoan and Polynesian hip hop).…more

Pacific Blog

A Young Warrior's Triumph: MJ's Inspiring Story to his $200,000 Academic Scholarship

In the heart of Manurewa, MJ Fau Fuimaono Latu has captured the hearts of many with his extraordinary journey. Born and raised in South Auckland, MJ attends Finlayson Park School, a decile 1 school that has become the backdrop of his inspiring story.

MJ is the son of Anthony and Teresa Latu, hailing from the village of Samata i Uta, Samoa. Described as ‘very reserved’ by his mother, his early years were spent in homeschooling, but now embraces school work with enthusiasm. 

Through sheer determination and unwavering dedication, MJ triumphed over numerous challenges to secure the prestigious Buchanan Charitable Trust Scholarship for Kings School/College - an accomplishment that holds a value of over $200,000.

MJ's pursuit of this life-changing scholarship began with stiff competition. Numerous applicants vied for the award, but MJ's brilliance and hard work set him apart. He passed the preliminary assessments and testing day, securing a spot in the top 5 finalists; and then went on to be shortlisted among the top 3 finalists for the final interview.…more

Pacific Blog

Remembering Toakase Fakakovikaetau: Pioneering Paediatrician in Tonga

Respected and pioneering Paediatrician in Tonga, Dr Toakase Fakakovikaetau sadly passed away on Friday the 28th of July after a brief but aggressive battle with cancer.

Tributes have poured in from her homeland of Tonga, across the Pacific Islands and from the Pasifika Medical Association here in New Zealand.  

PMA Chief Executive, Mrs Debbie Sorensen, expressed her heartfelt condolences to Dr Fakakovikaetau's family, friends and colleagues. 

"Her absence is a tremendous loss to not only the medical sector in Tonga and the Pacific region, but to her community that she so tirelessly served. As a Life Member of PMA, we acknowledge her dedication to child health and the lifelong impact that she has made in the world of paediatrics, both in Tonga and in the Pacific.

"At a personal level, she was also an amazing friend, colleague and a courageous leader.…more

Pacific Blog

How Lizzo's Thick Thighs Save Polynesian Girls' (Inner Child Wounds) Lives XOXO

by Gaby Solomona

With the Barbie movie craze going on at the moment it is only fair for me to declare that Lizzo is the barbie doll and role model I wish I had growing up in the 90s. “I’m just a chubby little black girl from Detroit”. Who in this generation of BBL’s, lip fillers and instagram filters says that out loud and who is proud to say something like that out loud? Lizzo is who. 

The Detroit born and raised, rapper, singer and songwriter touched down in Auckland for her solo show “The Special Tour” 2023 and you had to be living under a rock to not have felt her electrifying presence dominate Spark Arena.

I’ll be honest, I am not the most fanatic Lizzo fan, unlike Wednesday night's sold out crowd who sang along to every one of her songs.…more

Pacific Blog

Creative New Zealand and BATS Theatre announce Cook Islander Teherenui Koteka as recipient of new Pacific Producer Residency

By Jane Mcindoe 

The Pacific Producer Residency 2023 has been awarded to eminent Producer, Director, Writer and Actor Teherenui Koteka, who will spend three months working at the BATS Theatre in Wellington. 

The young Cook Islander is a member of the Pasifika and Māori arts collective Maranga Mai, she has also worked with Tawata Productions, Auckland Theatre Company and has written and produced her own shows in New Zealand and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

“I’m super stoked! Producing is an area I specifically wanted to upskill in and there’s no better place to do that than at BATS” she says

However, she is disappointed in the lack of producers coming from the Cook Islands and hopes for a day where there will be more interested in getting involved with the creative arts industry from the islands.

“There is a shortage of Pasifika producers in New Zealand - I self produce a lot of work and have also noticed a real lack of Cook Islands producers” she added.…more