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


Sports

TIM CAHILL - ALL 50 OF HIS GOALS FOR AUSTRALIA

Australia's Socceroos greatest & most iconic personality - Samoan footballer Tim Cahill played his last international game for Australia against Lebanon yesterday!  Congratulations on an amazing career!  

After the game he was given a standing ovation and had the following words to say to his fans

“This is the only time you’re going to see me cry,” Cahill began.

“I want to say thank you, firstly to my family. For being there from day one, the sacrifices my family made for me is the reason why every time I step on that pitch I’m fearless, I’m free. Nothing can hurt me on the pitch and everything I do is for my family.

“Secondly, I want to thank my teammates and all the staff that I’ve worked with. The coaches, the players, without you guys I’ll be nothing, honestly I’ll be nothing. The coaches that are not here, the players that are not here, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.

“Now, the most important people as well, is the fans.…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

Guest Writer

PALOLO RISING

By Liz Ah-Hi 

Cover photo credit:  Nadya Va'a

The Palolo moon made me do it.

At 2.30am this morning I woke up with an unusual amount of alertness considering I had only accepted a random invitation just a few hours earlier from my neighbour to go ‘ka palolo’ in Lefaga.

It was the moment I had been waiting for and weeks of dropping hints into social conversations had finally paid off at the eleventh hour bearing in mind there was only days left of the palolo rising.

Though my Dad dispels it, I could have sworn I had a childhood memory of waking up to a dark but moonlit beach in Asau filled with shadow people carrying torches, hunting for palolo in silence. Whether it was just a dream or an actual event that took place, I was looking forward to having a new experience.…more


Health & Well Being

The importance of Breast Cancer checks - Samoa campaign

Well known former Miss South Pacific, Mary Jane Mckibben-Schwenke returned to the motherland earlier this month with some of the children & youth from her cultural arts school 'Matavai'.  They were there to help kick off an awareness campaign around the importance of Breast Cancer checks in Samoa.

Dedicated to Manamea Schwalger who passed away earlier this year from the disease, Mary Jane has vowed to continue her campaigning for better breast cancer awareness and help for women with the disease in Samoa.

"I promised Manamea that I would help continue her legacy of spreading awareness about breast cancer and cancer itself. Currently there is no registry for cancer in Samoa however last year alone 140 or so people in samoa were diagnosed with this disease. Manamea believed that in order to fight cancer in our islands it takes the collective efforts of many, from government to private sectors to villages and Samoan people everywhere.

Prevention is better than cure, when there are more spreading the message of being vigilant with health checks etc them more lives could be saved.…more


Events

BLACK GRACE - THE GUERRILLA COLLECTION

The Guerrilla Collection are taking over the waterfront!

Black Grace have come together with some of Auckland’s most treasured Maori & Pasifika artists, to bring you “The Guerrilla Collection”

The brainchild of Arts Laureate Neil Ieremia, partnered with artists Anapela Polataivao, Victor Rodger, Courtney Sina-Meredith, Justin Haiu, Paul Fagamalo, Sean Macdonald and youngun Leki Jackson-Bourke, the 3 Day Festival is set to start this coming Friday, 2nd November at the ASB Waterfront Theatre.

Guerrilla Collection explores the daunting idea of “What will Auckland look like in 30 years, what will it look like, smell like, feel like, taste like”

For Curator Neil Ieremia, it was important for Pasifika People to be involved in this conversation.  

“We are the largest Pacific City in the world ... It’s so important that we have a voice and a seat at the table, so give us one!  And if you don’t give us one, we’ll take one” he said.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - LEKI JACKSON BOURKE

LEKI JACKSON BOURKE 

Playwright, Writer, Actor, Inaugral emerging Pasifka writer in Residence 

Niuean, Samoan, Tongan 

What makes you get out of bed every morning?
Ideas, ideas and more ideas. The creative mind never sleeps - I go to sleep with ideas, I dream of ideas and I wake up full of ideas. My mind is always busy devising ways to create magic through the arts. Living my best life while I can. 

What makes you most Pasifika proud? 
It makes me proud knowing that we descend from greatness and seeing our ancestors thrive and live through us and our cultural heritage art forms. Our ancestors were visionary, forward-thinking and innovative. They left us gifts that outlived them and it's evident today through the Ta'ovalas we tie, the tapa & mats we sit on, the kahoa's we wear around our necks, the kava we drink, the words and songs we sing, the patterns of our tatau we proudly display today.…more