Pacific Blog

First place is just a number | Telesia Tanoa’i | TEDxWellington

In her journey through academic competitions, 16-year-old Telesia Tanoa'i confronts the weight of her own expectations and the toll it takes on her mental well-being. As she navigates through numerous disappointments, Telesia discovers a transformative realisation: by prioritising purpose over perfection, she finds the resilience to persist and grow.

Telesia's story is a testament to the power of purpose in overcoming setbacks and finding fulfillment amidst challenges. Telesia Tanoa’i is a Samoan New Zealander with an international view of the world. As the daughter of a diplomat, she has spent her childhood in Taiwan, Fiji, and New Zealand. She is a year 12 student at Wellington’s Samuel Marsden Collegiate, where she is the Māori/Pasifika representative on the Head Girls’ Committee. For Telesia, the issue she cares about the most, and the one she considers to be critical for her generation is climate justice.

Telesia’s film “Telesia 2 the World” has so far been selected for four Film Festivals in the US, UK and New Zealand, including Māoriland Film Festival.…more

Pacific Blog


“Our Language and Cultural Identities are not negotiable," Aeau Chris Hazelman, CEO of Samoa Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture

Weaving our Moana stories into taonga

All the extraordinary people of the Moana weaving an ocean of indigenous knowledge and creativity in one place at one time. What’s not to love and learn? 

The magnificence of our vaka, visual arts, dance, tatau, tokstory, and some of the most precious taonga are showcased in two of the most special weeks of the decade for Moana people. 

There were lots of slogans under the FestPAC banner of ‘bringing the best of the Pacific together’ but amidst the many extraordinary sights and sounds - it’s the stories of our shared knowledge and the vital talanoa that connect us in this time.

“Celebrating commonalities in all areas of arts, culture and language and the best of our beautiful people on show. Tā tatau, mahi whaikairo, poetry and waiata. Mahi alofa. Discussions on Protecting Oceania, Niu Ola, and the absence of Kanaky people and continued genocide in West Papua.…more

Pacific Blog

'Keeping It Fresh' at the 2024 Many World Champs 🌊

Celebrate a Kiwi classic past-time, the good ol' Manu! Keep it Fresh with the country's most hardcore manu enthusiasts at this year's Z Manu World Champs

Keepin It Fresh brings you all the freshness happening in our Moana communities, from Siva Afi Festivals to Fashion Shows.

Director: Mario Faumui
Camera: Faanati Mamea
Sound: David Green
Editor: Mario Faumui

Pacific Blog

Pasifika Celebrated With NZ Order Of Merit Honours

Amidst the unveiling of the King's Birthday Honours List, the spotlight falls on the remarkable achievements of Pasifika individuals. These honourees exemplify excellence, embodying resilience and innovation in their respective fields. As our Pasifika whanau celebrate those who have contributed excellence to their communities, get to know them here!

Officers of the NZ Order of Merit (ONZM)

Anapela Polataivao

For her contributions to the Pacific performing arts - Anapela will be well known to our Coconet audience, having made multiple appearances playinga wide array of characters, most notably one half of the hilarious 'Pani & Pani' duo.

She has directed multiple works, including Sol3 Mio’s original opera Alofagia: Le Opera and Tusiata Avia’s Wild Dogs Under My Skirt’, some of which have toured NZ, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Rev. Taimoanaifakaofo Kaio

For services to the Pacific community - In 2001, Very Reverend Taimoanaifakaofo Kaio assumed the role of Moderator for the North Shore Presbytery in Epsom, and then served as the Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand from 2018 to 2021.…more

Pacific Blog

'Keepin It Fresh' At A Niuean Island Wedding! 💞

Keep it Fresh with Reid and Sky as they take us to Niue for their island wedding. Celebrate family, tradition and love with these newlyweds as they journey home to tie the knot 👰🏽‍♀️🤵🏽‍♂️🌺

Keepin It Fresh brings you all the freshness happening in our Moana communities, from Siva Afi Festivals to Fashion Shows

Director: Shimpal Lelisi,
OPC: Damon Fepuleai
Editor: Damon Fepuleai, Laura McBeath
Talent: Sky O'Brien, Reid Fuemana-Elisaia

Pacific Blog

Riots, Colonialism and Climate: The Fight for Sovereignty in Kanaky

What do the riots in New Caledonia tell us about green colonialism in the age of climate action?

The recent riots in New Caledonia have brought to light a complex web of historical grievances: the pillaging of Pacific minerals and an unjust transition to renewable energy.

To understand the 2024 unrest in this context it is essential to delve into the island’s colonial history. Namely its valuable nickel resources, and the implications of environmental policies that come at the cost of the community.

The French take Kanaky

Kanaky, now named New Caledonia, is a French territory with a long history of colonial rule and resistance by the indigenous Kanak people of the land. European colonisation began in 1774, and France formally annexed New Caledonia in 1853.

Since then, the Kanak people have often been marginalised economically and politically, leading to numerous conflicts and calls for independence.

The struggle for self-governance has been a persistent theme in New Caledonian history.…more

Pacific Blog

Four Pasifika Writers Among 'Script To Screen's South Shorts Mentorship Programme

Script to Screen welcomes eight new filmmakers who have been selected for the tenth South Shorts Mentorship Programme

Over the next six months, the participants will embark on an incredible journey of development led by acclaimed screenwriter and director Briar Grace-Smith (Rūrangi, Cousins, Waru).  

During this time, the participants will take part in five group workshops that will include script read-throughs, group discussions, writing exercises, and insightful sessions with guest filmmakers. By the end of the Programme, the filmmakers will have produced a polished script.  

Four of the eight selected filmmakers are of Pasifika descent, get to know them here!

Claire Patolo

Claire Patolo (Lauli’i, Faleapuna, Safune) is of Samoan descent. She is an emerging filmmaker from Tāmaki Makaurau. She has mostly worked in the production team on music videos and short films and is currently working on finishing her first short film script. She has a Master’s degree in Communications from Auckland University of Technology and is currently completing her PhD.

Feenuu Lefono

Feenuu Lefono is an emerging Samoan writer and filmmaker from Otara, South Auckland.…more

Pacific Blog

Contemplating Tradition and Innovation at Polyfest

By Leki Jackson-Bourke

The buzz is still high and the town’s still talking after the annual ASB Polyfest which was held in Tāmaki Makaurau, March 2024.

The popular festival began in 1976 and is considered the largest Pacific Dance Festival in the world. This year saw an increase in the rise of contemporary inspired performances which left plenty to talk about on social media. “That’s not traditional… they should’ve placed… that school shouldn't have won.. it’s rigged."

Every year it’s the same old argument over traditional vs contemporary. Some are here for it, some are against it. We interviewed a few tutors who were subject to online criticism and we posed the question - Is there a place for cultural Innovation at Polyfest?


Traditionally, Tongan dance is taught by a Punake who is known as the cultural expert and lead knowledge holder of Tongan arts. To be bestowed the title of a Punake is a huge honour and one that few families can truly claim.…more

Pacific Blog

We Love You Yolande - A Coconet Tribute ❤️

It's with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Tofilau Yolande Ah Chong, the woman who brought such life and love to our Pasifika communities, who advocated passionately for the voice of Tagata Moana and lit up our screens with her special brand of humour like no other 🌺💞

We love you so much Lande, look at the decades of joy you brought to the world in all our programmes and events.

Rest in Alofa and fly high in the Heavens like you did on Earth 🕊️ This is our special tribute compilation of all your amazing work

Pacific Blog

Angela Tiatia's 'The Dark Current' and Pasifika Femininity

“In our Pasifika culture when you’re a young person and you voice to your family that you want to be an artist, there’s often this suspicion, fear or worry about making an impact or even a career from being an artist. It takes a lot of having to bury those dreams and expectations that others have for your life and push past that to look deep within and ask “what do I want for my life?”

She is the Samoan supernova of the Australian art world, splashing narratives of brown women up front and personal across giant sized screens in some of the most acclaimed art spaces across the ditch.

The proud Savaiian has been on an extraordinary journey with her video making art practice, and has also had extraordinary success in the palagi art world.

Angela’s latest work ‘Dark Current’ continues to pack a punch, putting forward subversive ideas behind the beauty of the Island experience.…more