The Tuvaluan Arts Collective - Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa together with the Niutao island community hosted a Tuvalu Arts Festival over the weekend with the aim of providing opportunities for their artists to share their art & culture beyond their own communities. {{12593}} All up there was around 100 women who participated in the one day festival.  Although the Tuvaluan community have a very strong and vibrant culture and identity in New Zealand and each of the 8 main islands hold their own cultural events & festivals, this was a new festival initiative to try and get the smaller Tuvaluan island community groups to connect & engage with mainstream artists and art galleries.  {{12597}}  One of the smallest islands in the Tuvalu group Nukulaelae participated and did a special contemporary dance with vaka paddles.  Rare and beautiful traditional art work from the wider community was exhibited and sold including traditional dance costumes, pandanus weaving, kolose (crochet patterns) & Fa Fetu. Mats previously displayed at Object Space - came from the art exhibition.  There was every day art, casual tops with crochet in them and women making traditional fans &  traditional dance skirts. {{12602}} As well as the art forms like Kolose that are particular to Tuvalu, there was also Sulu Faka’alo which looks like tivaevae from the Cook Islands.  Tuvaluan women were  exposed to the artform when their husbands went mining on the island of Fanafa but it is not widely known that Tuvalu practices this art form. Along with the Auckland Tuvaluan community, Tuvaluans from both Oamaru and Wellington EKT came up with exhibits (Oamaru had done an exhibition inconjunction with the theatre production 'Still Life with Chickens') and support for the Tuvalu heritage arts. {{12606}} Tuvaluan Arts Collective co-ordinator Malama T-Pole said she hoped the event would encourage the Tuvaluan grassroots community artists as well as bridge the gap between the island arts and mainstream arts and exposure as there is still a need to promote arts and networking for the community in this way "It's important for NZ raised kids to see our island arts elevated in mainstream and seeing it outside their own communities" she said. {{12611}}

  • Fresh out Da Box - Ercan Cairns

    Fresh out Da Box - Ercan Cairns

    Tongan/Maori artist Ercan only picked up a painting brush last year after being inspired by a Basquiat documentary. He's recently returned from an artists residency in Tonga with Tevita Latu at the Seleka Arts Studio. Find out why he's Fresh out Da Box 

  • Fresh Out Da Box - Eva Fuemana

    Fresh Out Da Box - Eva Fuemana

    Artist Eva Fuemana shares the mural she painted at the Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club in Grey Lynn with the help of Creative Souls Project. Like us on Facebook Subscribe to our YouTube



    Manamea Facebook Page Local Artists who own the Manamea Art Studio Samoa show us why they're FRESH OUT DA BOX! Their studio is home of painting, tatau, carving and most of all - Love. Stay tuned for more Art!

  • Le Masina - Handcrafted Beauty Products

    Le Masina - Handcrafted Beauty Products

    Handcrafted luxury artisan soaps & nourishing body products made by Actress/Writer/Director Goretti Chadwick! Featuring ingredients from the Pacific, Le Masina uses organic and natural plant based oils to have your skin looking fresh as ever!! You can find Le Masina on instgram: @le_masina  And shop online on their website here: https://lemasina.co.nz/ Read more about Creator & Founder of the Le Masina beauty products line Goretti Chadwick here:  

  • Fresh out da Box - Tha Movement & Anonymouz

    Fresh out da Box - Tha Movement & Anonymouz

    Tha Movement takes us behind the scenes of his music video 'Graduation' which was shot with Anonymouz in Samoa.



    Samoan architect John Belford-Lelaulu takes us back to where it all began at De La Salle College and explains what he does in terms of social and humanitarian design with his company MAU Studio 

  • Pacific Collection Access Project - Fiji to French Polynesia

    Pacific Collection Access Project - Fiji to French Polynesia

    The Fiji section of the Pacific Collection Access Project closed last week and they celebrated the end of the programme with a Fijian fashion show and then handed over to French Polynesia.



    With more and more opportunities for young aspiring artists to learn about their cultural heritage, the Pacific Heritage Arts Fono is off to a flying start. Presentation’s, workshop’s and talanoa’s; the program is jam-packed to inform and inspire. {{6107}} Whispers of rich tales passed from one generation to another are not only found in conversation, but through the importance of objects and significant creations right throughout the history of our Pacific. {{6110}} Among the many stories that were shared, Lizzy Leckie and Kaetaeta Watson presented an extraordinary piece on ‘Te Otanga: Coconut Fibre Armour from Kiribati”. “Our project has been an amazing journey. This is only the beginning of the research.” Lizzy says. {{6112}} The duo, along with the support of the West Auckland Kiribati community began their study to re-awaken the skills and knowledge of their ancestors. The full ensemble consists of a cap, back plate (to protect the warriors neck from stones thrown by his own women at the enemy), body armor, jerkin and leggings. All of which are made from dense coconut fiber matting. {{6114}} “When it comes to the way it is woven we only know that it was done by knotting, otherwise we have no idea”. Recalled Kaetaeta. To help the audience understand the dynamics of the armor, Lizzy and Kaetaeta had a prototype made out of paper for a clearer understanding. Weapons that complimented the armour were prongs (taumangaria), edged with shark’s teeth, a porcupine fish helmet and sting ray skin cuirass on the top. {{6116}} “The first time I came to New Zealand was the first time I saw a Kiribati armour. The people I stayed with here in Auckland, very kindly took me to the museum to see this and I was amazed.” A defining characteristic of Kiribati armour is the significance of the geography that surrounds its shores. The low-lying coral atolls meant that there were very few raw materials historically available, which is why the armour is so unique and the drive to know more is still very present. Kaeteata found the importance behind their “why” to discover more about this historical artifact. {{6120}} “We’re very lucky to have something to be proud of, to know that we inherit a language of our own; customs that tie us together and that we depend on as part of our livelihood. Our future existence may well depend on the skills our ancestors had developed in order to live in their environment.” The theme for this year’s Pacific Arts Fono is transmission, preserving, developing and passing on pacific heritage art forms. A large part of the good work Lizzy and Kaetaeta are doing. {{6122}} For more information on the Pacific Heritage Arts Fono by creative New Zealand, head to http://www.creativenz.govt.nz/news/pacific-heritage-arts-fono-to-pass-on-knowledge-1

  • Tauivi Designs

    Tauivi Designs

    "I have always been captivated by Tuiga and just the regality that it brings upon a Taupou. It is literally a crown of glory..." - Tehinamai Mataele Tafiti My name is Tehinamai Mataele Tafiti. I am a wife and a mother of two boys. I am 31 years old and I currently reside in Laie, Hawaii. I am half Tongan -  Maori, Spanish, and Hawaiian. I was born and raised here in Hawai'i.  My family is culturally rich and always has been, but I have always been someone who was in search of more. I've always considered myself an old soul, someone who could feel the old soul inside, but was never sure how to tap into that. {{6000}} I have always loved creating beautiful things and have always dreamed of reaching a state of self fulfillment as a Polynesian. Being of mixed Polynesian background I have identified with all of my roots at different points in my life, and I feel it is important for Polynesians to do so. We are not just one thing. We are one being made up of so many things.  When I was in highschool I became part of the Polynesian Voyaging society which took me to do cultural exchanges in Aotearoa, Australia, Samoa, and Fiji. My life has never been the same since. I was heavily involved in Polynesian dance throughout my early 20's until just a few years ago. I connected well to my roots through Polynesian dance. I have participated in Tahitian Heiva competition, Te Manahua Maori competition, and also We are Samoa festival.  Tauivi Designs started just last year. It was unexpected but I also feel that it was meant to be. At least for this point in my life. I had my second child and I had retired from dancing. I was approached by one of the mothers in the community who had heard that I could create cultural attire. {{6003}} She specifically asked for Taupou attire for her daughter. I had recently helped my Mum the previous year with her 6th grade class and we put on a Samoan performance including a Taupou for whom I designed attire for. So I decided to help.  What MOTIVATED me was the young women in my community today. For me, I have always been captivated by Tuiga and just the regality that it brings upon a Taupou. It is literally a crown of glory. And I wanted to show that in my work. But I found a lot of young women I would talk to would explain to me that the reason they shy away from actually wanting to learn and dress as a Taupou and even carry on the tradition is because a lot of the Tuiga and Ula are very "old", and because they were family heirlooms, a lot of the Tuiga are passed down through generations. But I could understand as a young woman myself, that what I wear affects my confidence as well. So I decided to start creating Tuiga that our generation would be more interested in wearing. {{6010}} One of the mothers in particular, Nisi Uyehara-Peters is whom I owe all of my respect to. If it weren't for her, I would not have stepped out into the public eye and really pushed my work out. She believed that people needed to see my work. And she also helped me with my first logo and just gave me that shove I needed to share Tauivi with everyone. I also started to put my Tongan designs together. The work for that is slowly but surely coming out. All of my Tuiga are tied on to the women traditionally. Onto the hair, so I bring a bit of tradition and contemporary all in one experience. I find that the experience many of the women have are irreplacable. For many of my models, this is the only time they may ever have this cultural experience and so I am privileged to give that to them. Along with Tuiga I specialize in contemporary Ula. I realized that I not only loved creating Tuiga but I feel that the Tuiga and Ula really bring an ensemble together. I am very inspired by Victorian attire. I feel like the prominent, high ranking, and nobility of certain Victorian designs fit so well with how I want my Taupou to be displayed to the world as well. {{6229}} I use all natural fibers, shells, and materials. My Tuiga that you see on my models are all tied onto the hair traditionally. Called Tuiga Fau. I have not photographed a contemporary Tuiga yet until recent when I had a photo shoot for my mens Tuiga line. Every piece that I have created directly reflects different experiences, emotions, or thoughts that I've had. And I can tell you exactly why I created each design and what my thoughts were at that time. The reward between the models and myself is very mutual. I get to see my work displayed on them, come to life. And they get to see that this is who they are. Who they really are. I believe that everything I have experienced in my life has led me up to this time and has prepared me for this point now as a designer and an artist. I believe that my experiences have given me so much to express through my work and I am so grateful for many of these experiences. The good and the bad. They are what has shaped my work today. {{6153}} My main struggles have been trying to articulate what I cannot put into words. Because there is so much. But I feel that my work is changing and maturing with me and I have been able to see that start to blossom in my designs. My recent ensemble "Lamepa Susulu" just hit it right on the nose. I saw the photo of it, the colors, and design, the Tuiga and Ula all put together and when I saw the final photo I thought to myself "THIS IS ME, THIS IS TAUIVI". So I am still finding myself in my designs, in my work and how I want it displayed.  As a woman who has grown up with Pasifika culture, I feel that we understand our work best. That it stirs something inside of us when we see beautiful Pasifika art work and we completely understand it. We appreciate it. We feel that mana and where it's rooted from. I feel that my work is easy for me to do because it comes from a place that has been with me since birth. We may not reside where our roots sprung forth from. But our souls are very much still rooted there. {{6156}} My goals for Tauivi Design is very focused now. We have created a movement of young people who now want to and request to be photographed in their cultural attire. Along with this, I have decided to publish a photography book along with Mapuana Reed Photography. It is the combination of design and photography that really bring the art to life. Mapuana Reed and Tauivi go hand in hand when it comes to photographing these people in my art. So we decided to publish a book and the decision is concrete. We know that this is our destiny together in this work. The reason I chose to pursue publishing this book is because we were capturing so many of my designs in studio with photos. But what we were doing that was even MORE important was we were documenting people of today. There are many old photos of Samoans and Tongan in their cultural attire, many portraits of our ancestors. But there is a huge gap between the past and present. {{6019}} So right now I have been taking my designs, and having their portraits taken. I am not sure when we plan to put the book out but right now that is the direction that Tauivi Designs has taken. I feel that this is my calling. To dress women and men of Pasifika. To let them feel that their identity is still very much alive. I also want to let the world know that we are still documenting who we are culturally. My goal is to continue to dress my designs on men and women, and have their portraits taken. I want to publish many books of our people. I want the world to see and remember who we are. Along with publishing the photos, I have written many pieces as well and continue to right Polynesian literature. So we will be combining all of these things, design, photography, people, and literature, all into one book. I am looking forward with faith and so much gratitude.  Tauivi Designs have recently launched their website: Click Here

  • Samoan Designer Janice Brown hits the Runway

    Samoan Designer Janice Brown hits the Runway

    Janice Brown talks about her latest collection 'The Polynesian Glam Edit' ; a stunning fusion of contemporary and traditional Pasifika design.  What is your collection about? My collection is a Gen-Y interpretation of a modern multicultural Polynesia. For women who stay relevant and relatable to their generation, but never forget where they come from. I recently lost my uncle Viliamu last week so this collection is dedicated to him because he always taught me to never forget where I come from. {{5857}} Why the gold? Why the hibiscus? I've extracted my favourite spear patterns that make up a Samoan tatau which you see printed on so many elei fabrics that we use to make traditional designs, and fused it with floral ensembles and re-packaged and presented in a more youthful approach; with bold beaded sparkles fused with sequins and embroidered hibiscus and florals with figure hugging silhouettes. Gold, mettalics and anything that sparkles embodies glamour, and a hibiscus flower is a tropical flower that is found right around the Pacific; hence my collection is called The Polynesian Glam Edit. {{5861}} How big a deal is it for Pacific people to put their designs on a runway like this in Sydney? Pacific Runway founded by Jannike Seiuli is now on the Carriageworks official Calendar. Carriageworks hosts Australia's annual fashion week called Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, so it’s a stake in the ground that Pacific designers mean business! It’s a huge platform for us as designers to market our ideas to consumers at large and industry professionals. I was amazed that some of my garments were sold straight off the runway when my collection had finished showcasing. That’s important for me personally because fashion is business, you have to be able to sell it as a result of exposure and showcase, and Pacific Runway provides that platform for designers. {{5865}} The show was sold out and jam-packed and the atmosphere was bustling with culture, colour, glitz and glam!!! What's unique about our Island design vision compared to the rest of the world? I think we are ALWAYS bold and daring with our colours and patterns and it’s just the norm! It’s an island trend that our ancestors set and I think we have evolved with it over time keeping it fresh and depicted in so many different ways! We do pattern clash and colour blocking like nobodies business and we just own that!

  • Siamani Samoa - Michel Tuffery

    Siamani Samoa - Michel Tuffery

    Check out the latest work by prominent NZ artist Michel Tuffery! Every morning the Royal Samoa Police band march from the Police station to the Government House in Apia to raise the flag, playing Vienesse brass band music - a tradition from the days when Samoa was under German rule just before the First World War. But last week saw the Police band take to Australia to be a part of Michael Tuffery's latest work Siamani Samoa. Tuffery's latest work (which translates to German Samoa) explores the legacy of the German colonial administration of Samoa from 1900 to 1914, using the Police band as the main component of the performance piece in Sydney. For the 17 strong members, it was their first time to Australia - with special permission from the Prime Minister of course. "I want this work to get people talking about Germany and Samoa before everyone forgets," Tuffery says. "There are a lot of Samoans who don't even realise they have German ancestry and there are some elderly Samoans who still speak fluent German. I love to hear other people say, 'I didn't know that'." Read more on the exhibition here 

  • In Pursuit of Venus (Infected)

    In Pursuit of Venus (Infected)

    Check out the latest stunning work by New Zealand visual artist Lisa Reihana! In Pursuit of Venus (Infected) is a video installation drawing on first encounters between the peoples of the Pacific and explorers like Captain Cook, Joseph Banks and Cook's Pacific companion Tupaia. The mammoth installation involved performances by Pacific dancers who were filmed on green screen, and superimposed on top of a landscape inspired by a 200-year-old French wallpaper depicting a Pacific utopia,Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique. Drawing inspiration and linking the imagery and ideas to the colonialism of the Pacific, Reihana's work is helping connect young Pacific people with the stories of our ancestors that were written about in early anthropological works. "It was an opportunity to work with young Pacific people and give them really good stories to enact and bring their own feelings and invoke their own thoughts and their own ideas of these histories." The installation is live now at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and runs till 30th of August. Check out her website and facebook for more information!

  • Massey Williams at #NZFW

    Massey Williams at #NZFW

    Tongan/Maori designer Massey Williams makes his debut to New Zealand Fashion week... at the Miromoda Showcase which featured a mix of established and emerging fashion designers. Massey's line titled "Canvas the World" uses canvas as his predominant fabric and draws inspiration from the world. The strong military aspect acknowledges the increase of "acts of terror" at home and abroad. This collection combines the functions and qualities of military garments as well as conveying street appeal. SUGGESTED LINKS: Rock yo fashion Coco style

  • Kolose: The Art of Tuvalu Crochet

    Kolose: The Art of Tuvalu Crochet

    When attending a Tuvaluan event, women can often be found working together on their kolose or crochet, reflecting the cultural environment where Pacific people grow up in, with no separation between art, culture and life. {{14227}} Kolose is one of the key art forms practiced by Tuvalu women in Aotearoa New Zealand, as it is back in their homeland. Kolose - the Art of Tuvalu Crochet, which was held at the Mangere Arts Centre in 2014 was the first Tuvalu exhibition in a mainstream art gallery.  The concept and practice of exhibitions, however, is not foreign to the Tuvalu community who regularly exhibit and display their works in various cultural contexts.  {{14231}} It is an important aspect of Tuvalu culture and Kolose is often worn to church, on special occasions, as part of female dance costumes and as casual wear. They are gifted during special occasions and used to add a unique Tuvaluan décor. This demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between art and culture in Tuvaluan life. {{14235}} Kolose: The Art of Tuvalu Crochet by Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa at Miharo Murihiku in Invercargill.   The exhibition opening + interactive community programming was part of Polyfest 2019 by Miharo. This year marked the 10th anniversary for the event, attracting upwards of 30,000 people from the Southland region!  Check out some of the exhibition and the opening below. {{14295}}    

  • Largest Mamanu Siapo Since 2000

    Largest Mamanu Siapo Since 2000

    As part of a collaborative project with the National Park of American Samoa, the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Art Department unveiled a new eight foot by eight foot Siapo Mamanu, the largest siapo in this style to be created since 2000. “This Siapo Mamanu will become a permanent part of our visitor center,” explained national park Chief of Interpretation and Education Michael Larson. “This will allow local and off-island visitors the opportunity to not only enjoy it, but also to learn about its importance in the Samoan culture as well as the incredible effort and creative process that went into making it.” Under the direction of Reggie Meredith-Fitiao and Master Practitioner Su’a Fitiao Tupuola Wilson, students in the Indigenous Arts Forms (ART 161) class learned about and created a Siapo Mamanu. The traditional methods used to make the siapo included the layering and adhering of the u’a (bark), collection and making of the natural dyes, and the applying of the Samoan mamanu or patterns painted in the freehand style using a paogo (pandanus key). The student artists included Puataunofo Tofaeono, Warren King, Loimata Siona, Shalina Prescott, and Queen-Grace Tiumalu. Siapo making is one of three Samoan traditional practices taught in ART 161 through this partnership, along with fine mat weaving and woodcarving. “Working with the national park on this project has been positive from the beginning,” said Reggie Meredith-Fitiao. “Students in ART 161 have been immersed in traditional practices and ancestral methods of creating art, which I believe has been very meaningful to them as recipients of the knowledge, and also to those of us who have the privilege to share it. The national park’s vision to see the importance of our material culture and the passing on of this knowledge to our young artists is a key component to the project, and we are very grateful.” Meredith-Fitiao recalled that the last Siapo Mamanu of a comparable size was created in 2000 by a team that included Marilyn Pritchard Walker and Adeline Pritchard Huff, daughters of master siapo maker Mary Jewett Pritchard. “Auntie Mary and her daughters have passed on,” said Meredith-Fitiao, “but my husband Su’a and I were both students of Auntie Mary, and we’re proud to trace the lineage of this work back to her.” “We are very excited to partner with ASCC to share these important traditional practices,” added Michael Larson. “One of the reasons the National Park of American Samoa was established is to preserve, protect, and perpetuate the Samoan culture, and to ensure that Samoan cultural traditions don't become practices of the past, but will continue through teaching, especially to the youth.” The project is also part of the National Park of American Samoa’s celebration of the centennial of the National Park Service. The national park is one of the 410 national park sites throughout the United States and its territories. Images courtesy of the National Park of American Samoa



    Auckland Museum hosted Fijian leaders, performers and community members this past weekend to launch the Museum’s Fijian collection project to coincide with Fijian language week.  The Fijian community was welcomed to Auckland Museum on Saturday 1 October to celebrate the launch of a unique project to focus research into the Museum’s internationally recognised Fijian collection. The project is part of The Pacific Collection Access Project, which is a three year programme to open up access to Pacific treasures, creating stronger connections with Auckland’s Pacific communities. As part of the launch, Fijian leaders gifted the project an official Fijian name: ‘Nai Yau Vakaviti – Na Ka Marequiti’ (this means ‘Our Fijian Treasures: That are treasured’). The Fijian collection is the second Pacific island nation to receive focus, following the successful programme of work that has begun for the Cook Islands collection. Museum staff will now focus on engaging with local Fijian communities and will invite cultural knowledge holders to visit the Museum to share their insights and wisdom. From L-R Nacanieli Yalimaiwai, President, Fiji Community Association of Auckland;  Fuli Pereira, Auckland Museum Pacific Curator;  Minister for Pacific Peoples, Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga;  Reverend Atu Lagi & David Reeves, Auckland Museum Director of Research and Collections We spoke to Tarisi Vunidilo, a Professional Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Auckland and artist Joana Monolagi who helped come up with the name of the Fijian collection. "I think for me, Joana and Alapati - we had a couple of key words that we'd emailed to each other a few times and then we ended up with the final 5 and then somehow the words started to morph into one.  We were thinking about it individually and then one evening it magically came together and the 3 of us just looked at it and we were like "That's it - thats the name!"  It's really nice that it has the word "Yau" which is the word for treasures and then it's got "Marequiti" which is to be treasured so those 2 words sort of come together - Our Fijian Treasures .... To be Treasured" said Tarisi "We also had the Rotumans here today and we always say let us not forget our Rotuman brothers and sisters are part of Fiji and they also have Rotuman artifacts that are in the Collection" "For me the name had to speak to what was down in the archives and the importance of it and what it means to us as Fijians.  It was really exciting especially to know all the different hands that have created these items and that these items have passed through you know? from generations to generations, what they were used for and how it's here today for this young generation to appreciate their heritage" adds Joana "Yes" agrees Tarisi "to add on to that, Joana touches on a very important point which is our youth, our young people and thats evident today that many of the young people are participating and thats what we want to do with this project.  Even though they've been made hundreds of years ago it still has relevance to our young people"   L - Tarisi & R - Joana  The 2 ladies have also given us a phrase to learn for Fijian Language Week:  "Au sa marau" = I am Happy!   Vinaka Vakalevu ladies! Photo Credit:  Max Lemeshenko/Get Communications for Auckland War Memorial Museum (Top 2 photos)   Suggested Links:   Pacific Collection Access Project The Pacifica Mamas 

  • Afa Ah Loo: Samoan fashion designer

    Afa Ah Loo: Samoan fashion designer

    He was the most talked about designer at last year’s Fiji Fashion week when he exploded onto the scene with his stunning ‘Amioga Samoa’ line. What most people won’t know is that 30-year-old designer, Afa Ah Loo, has only been in business for two years. The former Marketing Manager turned teacher now turned fashion designer (add to that - Samoa Idol 2010 Winner), had no idea that taking the plunge into an industry he knew nothing about would see him recognised on a worldwide stage in such a short time. After Fiji Fashion week, he was invited to feature his line at LA Fashion week. Two of his pieces also featured at the Miss World 2015 Pageant in Sanya, China both in a judged category and the Finale night. A show which was broadcasted live on air in multiple countries around the world. But discovering his talent was accidental, to say the least. “I registered late for high school that year and I had no choice but to take home economics,” “All the other options were full.” It was at Church College of Western Samoa, a young Afa was taught how to sew a hand mitten - a project that took an entire term for most students, but just a few days for Afa. The same speed and zeal is reflected in the time he takes to make an outfit now. “It only takes me about a day or two to make a wedding dress,” explained Afa “If it takes me longer, I get frustrated.” When Miss World Samoa contestant Latafale Auva’a contacted him requesting if he could design for her, Afa was already on his way to LA Fashion week. “I didn’t have much time planned for it, so I made her dresses within three days,” “I had to send it to New Zealand that same day to get to her before she flew to China.”   The budding designer says he almost pulled out of last year’s Fiji Fashion week after seeing all the other designers’ pieces during a rehearsal. “I didn’t think my pieces were as strong as I thought they would be, and after seeing what the other designers had to show, I didn’t want to show mine.” expressed Afa But a friend convinced him to stick with his vision. Afa’s debut collection was hailed by some Fashion bloggers as their pick of the evening, amongst all the other praise it received. “Never in a million years did I dream that I would get so much appreciation.” he said The Amioga Samoa collection was inspired by Afa’s late mother, who was buried the day before he flew out to his first ever showing, in New Zealand. “My mother was a very stylish woman. She loved bright colours, loved to wear earings,” “She loved to dance. She was always a bubbly happy go-getter kind of woman.” said Afa fondly. Her death inspired Afa to take the brave step of starting his own business and following his passion. “I wanted to carry on the legacy that she had left for me.” The zealous designer plans on opening an online store by the end of the year, but for now, has his sights set on producing the Samoa Sinnet Fashion show, a collaborative project with other designers in Samoa which will take place in July. And alongside coming on board as a designer for retail clothing brand ‘Fiji Tall’, he’s also accepted an offer to join a design company based in Utah where he will soon be residing. When asked what advice he would give to other young people following their dreams, his message is simple. "Live a spontaneous life. That's what I do best." By Indira Stewart

  • Fijian Model Phillipa Steele

    Fijian Model Phillipa Steele

    Representing Sigatoka, Fiji; Model Phillipa Steele graces the pages of Stylist Magazine (U.K) with "In The Wild". The countryside is set as the backdrop for me to walk the huskies in imagery by Anoush Abrar, wearing cozy knits, shearling coats and blanket dressing by the likes of Phillip Lim, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Isabel Marant, styled together by Sorrel Kinder for the 25th of November issue of Stylist UK. Hair & Make-up by Laetizia Di Milta. Fiji Fashion Week first knew Phillipa was going to go far when she came 2nd in our inaugural MHCC Miss Teen Model competition held in 2012. She was fresh out of Sigatoka with absolutely no modelling experience but she caught our eye.  The point of the competition was to find models who were YOUNG and FRESH and train them under the Models Fiji Management so they could be runway models for Fiji Fashion Week held in October 2012.     

  • From the Pacific to Pingyao

    From the Pacific to Pingyao

    Eighty images from 12 Pacific Island and Maori photographers will be showcased at the International Photography festival in Pingyao China which starts next Monday until the 25th of September. The exhibition which is called 'Ata Te Tangata' and translates as 'Capture the People' is curated by Rosanna Raymond and features works by Maori and Pacific photographers based here in NZ including Siliga David Setoga,Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes, Tanu Gago, Ane Tonga, Grant Apiata, Tuafale Tanoa'i aka Linda T, Raymond Sagapolutele, Russ Flatt, Lisa Reihana, Emily Mafile’o, Pati Solomona Tyrell and Natalie Robertson. Ata Te Tangata curator Rosanna Raymond says “Photography played a huge part in contributing to the visual mythology that defined the Pacific body, the land and ocean. Ata Te Tangata redefines the gaze. The person behind the lens is genealogically and geographically a part of the community they are portraying. This allows for more nuanced representations, reflecting the world around them. These images tell a multitude of stories, bringing to light the people and landscapes of a contemporary Polynesian experience unique to Aotearoa New Zealand” The CoconetTV caught up with two of the artists who are travelling to Pingyao this evening to find out more behind the concept of their exhibition pieces and the exhibition itself.   EMILY MAFILE'O  "What I really like about it (Ata Te Tangata Exhibition) is that it's a really interesting look, like if you saw the images that came through they're really diverse and it's not necessarily what you'd expect to see from Maori and Pacific Island photographers.  It's more looking at peoples lives and things that they do rather than at festivals performing and that kind of thing.   I'm also really excited that a lot of young photographers have been pulled into the mix because you know, they're living what it is to be PI in Auckland and we're all urban - we live in Auckland - we're urban PI's so it's a really nice look at the different varieties.  Pati, Tonu and of course Anes work which is really cool with the Gold Teeth and Siliga with his hair - it's so simple but cleverly done. I think another really important aspect of this exhibition is that WE are taking ownership of how PI's are portrayed so WE are documenting our people rather than having someone else come in.  I think thats really important and Rosanna spoke to that in one of the news clips - the importance of documenting our own culture and taking ownership of it and doing it you know - we now have the resources to do it so do it!  Don't leave it for other people to come in and document it and then not be happy with how you're portrayed you know? "A KILLER OF A TIME" - By Emily Mafile'o  "My focus has always been on people and capturing people in their environments and for the last 12 - 15 years I've been documenting a friend and through that friend I met 'Killer' - that was his aka.  Because I started hanging out with him I noticed a shift in the body of work where it was solely focused on him and what he was going through. I found it quite interesting that he was full Tongan born in Tonga and yet there were so many things that weren't Tongan about him.  I think he moved over here when he was about 7 so I think he had all that Tongan background but he was living such a life that wasn't.  So that really fascinated me ...  Then at different times, bits and pieces of Tongan culture would come through and I'd be like 'Oh yeah, there it is'   It was almost like he was trying to push it to the side like 'it doesn't exist and this is my life now'  but it'd be funny how it'd creep back in and he didn't even realise it.   So I was really fascinated by that.  I was fascinated by the life he chose by the amount of freedom he seemed to have.  Within the Tongan culture there are lots of things that are right or wrong and it's extremely black & white especially if you're religious.  It's ingrained and yet here was this guy not paying any attention to that and yet to look at him he was full Tongan, he could speak Tongan fluently and he'd chosen this totally different life. For me it was like 'You're not behaving like you're meant to behave!' and that freedom that he had to do the things he did but of course that freedom also comes with consequences but for some of us we don't even have that freedom to make that choice because it's just a 'no go area'  So I was fascinated with the aspect of, even though the actions he did would have consequences that were pretty harsh like prison or whatever he still had that ability to consider these things whereas I wouldn't even consider behaving like that.  You know the majority of the population wouldn't consider behaving like that.   Then I realised that he might have this exterior that was really harsh looking, not pretty at all, really rough and yet there were softer sides to him and at the end of the day he's still human.  It's just getting through that barrier and I wanted to document him because this is a part of Tongan culture now, whether we're in New Zealand or America or even Tonga with the deportees returning home that culture is starting to grow in Tonga.   So you can't say it's not part of Tongan culture, it is but it's just hidden and I want to, through my body of work, acknowledge that there are different and many types of being Tongan because often in Tongan culture you only show what is appropriate and what is right and everything else is swept under the mat.  Family members are discarded or disowned if they behave a certain way not to the normal if they bring shame to the family and I just wanted to bring light to some of these things. And you know this guy was full of humour, he had children, he started to have hopes for the future and he's still human so for me that was really important to show.  I've had some people say that I'm glamourising gang life but I thought no, I'm actually documenting what actually happened not setting them up and taking them out of their environment"         RAYMOND SAGAPOLUTELE "When Rosanna approached me originally she asked me for a variety of images and I thought OK I could put the 'Out of Context' images in there in case they're something they're interested in as well as a whole lot of the landscapes that I'd been doing.  When Rosanna came back to me she said they loved the landscapes - they were strong - but they REALLY loved the 'Out of Context' images and it fit into more of what they were looking for.   I had asked Rosanna what the reactions were and it was the variety of images and the different styles from each photographer were what really impressed the festival organisers. At first I was a bit funny about putting the images in and I only put them in to give them a variety of shots but then I thought it was a way to introduce our people to another HUGE culture and if we can go over and speak on behalf of the images then that helps as well"   "OUT OF CONTEXT" - by Raymond Sagapolutele I'm not an anthropoligist but I wanted to document a generation of Pacific Islanders born here as well as urban Maori from my generation.  The main reason being that we're the generation of children from those that came over in the 60s & 70s. I was coming across images from the turn of the century from Samoa and I'd never seen them before - I was amazed at how different they were to the images that we grew up on or the images you saw in your standard text or you know the postcard images of the islands with your taupou and the matai with their nifo oti and it all looks quite staged. But then these other images I found were these amazing photos of people dressed as they were going about their work or like when they had got someone to take a group photo of them, not one of them were like how I'd perceived or had seen.  So I was like wow these are amazing why have I never been able to see these and we came across the same experience when we went to the Auckland Museum and were given access to their archive.  They have got all these old photos from Samoa and other Pacific Islands but they were telling us that with Samoa with the way the Germans ran things with the way they liked to keep accurate records, the photographers used the state of the art equipment for the time.  So the images they got & printed are amazing to see even 100 years on they haven't lost their beauty but I looked at them and was like 'Thats not what I thought they'd look like'   So back to what I'm doing - what happens in 100 years from now if you were to go and do a search on what we were like, you're going to get all these headlines like "South Auckland Criminal", "Dairy Robbers", "Homeless" you know which is part of where we are, our history, but it's not all of us.   So you either get that or the extreme opposite of everyone going to church, Happy Islanders, Glen Jowitt  type shots where everyones happy to perform covered in oil (laughs).   There was a Tongan artist that I was introduced to and he was amazed to be amongst Polynesians & Maoris.  We have this kind of 'Us and Them' mentality "PI's and Maoris' but I'm trying more and more to merge the  2 cos thats how we are.  When they come over they don't distinguish any difference they just think we're all Pacific Islanders which is true.  When he said that to me I kind of questioned him and was like what do you mean and he replied "Seeing you guys as you are, you're real!" and that stuck in my head so I did a google search on us - Polynesian + New Zealand and you get All Blacks, Kapa Haka groups, you get people at Polyfest, at Pasifika which is cool but it didn't represent Me and it didn't show my family, your family or the people I grew up with. So I sat down and based off the work I did on my Mum and Sister - I liked that style - and thought how do I use that because when I shoot I tend to shoot in a studio setting as opposed to street photography.  For this project it was a bit more personal so I wanted to have a bit more control over what I was doing and that reminded me of what I did with my Mum and sister .   Based on that idea of using the single light and the subject and then putting them together as a collage to show them as a whole because the photos individually are amazing but when you combine them it takes it to a whole new level - for me anyway - so I thought I'd use that same approach when it came to doing the project.  When I approached eveyone who was in it I said 'OK I'm doing this, I'm going to be as hands off as possible other than the photography but can you bring along things that represent you even if it means 5 years from now your tastes have changed but I still captured that piece of you at that time' In my mind there's a debate on how you represent your subject.  Street photography is the most honest form because there's no pretence you're just catching them as they are on the street.  When it comes to a sitting it's slightly different because they put it back on you that you're going to capture them in a way that you interpret it so I had to work out a way to make it so that my influence was minimal.   I'm passionate about this project because I'm this generation as well, I've been through the struggles and a lot of the conversation I've had with subjects when I'm shooting them - we've had the same experiences.  The reason I wanted to include Maori is because there's a common theme among us where there's that cultural cutoff.  We feel like we're too brown to be a kiwi but too white to be a Samoan or for the islands.   With the photos I found there was a lot of engagement and story telling which let me know it was working and the other really cool thing I found was the images that I completed and I passed on to look at - they were quite touched by them and it was like they'd finally got to see themselves.  So it was my interpretation in the way I took them and put them together but I'd send it back to them and ask them if they were cool with how they came out.   The Pingyao Festival of Photography starts on Monday the 19th of September.  It features 10,000 photographs from all over the world.  3 of the exhibitions within the Festival get their own opening and the body of work featured in 'Ata Te Tangata' is one of the 3 receiving their own opening which is a great honour. The festival itself has been going for 10 years now and is located in the ancient section of the city of Pingyao which is also a UNESCO world cultural heritage site.  For the duration of the festival, Pingyaos old town becomes one large, indoor and open-air photo gallery, with photo exhibits from professional and amateur photographers from every continent.



    This year the world renowned TMD crew are celebrating 20 years together as a Graffiti collective. Photographers Raymond Sagapolutele, Brendan Kitto and Jamie McCready joined TMD at different periods during its growth and development and they each bring their own perspectives to the material for this exhibition. Public viewing some of the photography in the exhibition  For TMD - In the Frame the photographers offer an insight into this talented and driven group of artists. We talked to Samoan photographer Raymond Sagapolutele about when he joined the group and what his involvement with them has been over the years. "I've probably been with them for about 7-8 Years.  I'm one of the last on board as a photographer and the way I got into the crew was a bit different because I don't have a graffiti background.  I have a background in tagging as a kid - but that got thumped out of me by my Dad (laughs) so I've always had an interest in it and have always been around the guys in one way or another.  Friendships, connections with family"   Photographer Raymond Sagapolutele  "My first connection was through Ben (Benjamin Work) and that was through Maria (Raymonds wife).  Bens sister Lydia and Maria are like sisters so I met Ben and through hanging out with Ben I met Charles & Janine, I met Elliott and there was just that friendship over the years.  Then I remember getting the phone call from Charles when he approached me to see if I wanted to be part of the crew.  I wasn't expecting it and it was a real honour to be invited onboard"  Photographer Jamie McCready who documented a lot of the crews work in their early years. "I was already shooting and was doing concert work for Back to Basics and Editorial work as well as my own documenting and I've always had an interest in trying to see what the graffiti guys were up to so it was a natural fit.  Just jumping on board and doing stuff with these guys was pretty cool and there were a couple of nights where Maria had to call me and be like 'Where are you?'  and I'd have to be like 'I'll call you back - I'm just climbing over this fence! (laughs)" Photographer Brendan Kitto aka Route52  I don't have a favourite moment - pretty much everything rolls into one big enjoyable fun lifetime experience and the thing about being in TMD is that it's less of a crew and more of a family so you know anything - whether it's graffiti, whether we're just hanging out you know it's all good!" TMD - In the Frame exhibition is on at the Fresh Gallery in Otara until this Saturday the 26th and showcases the range of locations the crew have painted both here and overseas.  The exhibition is also supported by dynamic video documentation shot by crew members Elliott O'Donnell (Askew1) and Bobby Hung (Berst).    

  • SAUNIGA Exhibition

    SAUNIGA Exhibition

    Sauniga - Curated by Jodi Meadows, was a group exhibition featuring three incredible Pasifika artists, Saint Andrew Matautia, Pati Solomona Tyrell and Uelese Vavae. Each artist incorporated portraiture as a mode to reflect their communities and their own identities.  Check out more from these artists: Andrew Matautia  Pati Solomona Tyrell  Through different mediums, each artist used Pasifika portraiture as a high impact storytelling device. Whether it be a reflection of the artists lived experience, or a commentary on wider pacific issues & realities, Sauniga was a dynamic display of compelling storytelling.  Uelese Vavae - Faletua Uelese's series 'Faletua'  (minister's wife)-  includes five large paintings of Samoan women in formal dress. The paintings command space and attention, their size and hyper-realistic style have an eerie presence. The paintings beg viewers to question the lives and stories these Faletua hold. Who are they? What are they thinking? Uelese's intention was to ask the audience if they perceived the formal western attire out of place on brown bodies. The series addresses the birth of Christian conservatism in the Pacific Islands and how the western world has infiltrated the Samoan church community.  "My motivations behind the series 'Faletua' begin from my upbringing, as I am the son of a Faifeau (reverend) and Faletua (reverends wife). I have always found it interesting how we as Samoan church goers dwell between cultural and religious customs to break even in creating unique traditions. One of these traditions is worn, which is our church attire, in my opinion; most notable with Faletua." - Vavae "I think it's important to share our pacific culture and ideologies to preserve these things and also to mark a point in history of how contemporary Pasifika art has moved forward. Pasifika Contemporary artists are further pushing boundaries and also questioning and challenging their own cultures to present ideologies in a way that is unique." "I want the series to speak about the clashes in culture and religion through the celebration of it. I want audiences to see the ever present western influence which is a constant in my culture, but also see that the work is a double edged sword as I the artist yield a shift in power through emulating European Neoclassical portraiture." Uelese said each painting took him at least 3 full days of painting, and the entire series was completed in 3 weeks. Vavae hopes to continue Faletua into a larger continious series.  Pati Solomona Tyrell Left - 'Afi' (2016) Right - 'Eleele' (2016) By Pati Solomona Tyrell Performance artist and photographer Pati Solomona Tyrell uses portraiture as a means to recreate a history where the presence of LGBTQ communities are celebrated and thriving.  As a founding member of FAF SWAG (a collective of brown queer creatives), the subjects of Tyrell's images are either himself or those from his FAF SWAG community.  Left - 'Vai' (2016) Right - 'Kelekele' (2016) By Pati Solomona Tyrell  Tyrell uses a haunting aesthetic with dramatic lighting to capture the essence of each constructed subject. The series tells an important and crucial story about the lack of queer brown representation in colonial history, aswell as speaking to themes of identity and sexuality. This mode of portraiture sparks such an important conversation about sexuality, espeicially within the Pacific community where there tends to be a lack of discussion around sexuality and sexual identity.   "The series is about reclaiming that mana in a modern context through a visual language that derives from my own practice and world view." Never seeing himself reflected in mainstream media growing up, Tyrell said he uses portraiture as a way to 'take contol'.  "It's just about trying to create stuff that I wanted to see when I was growing up...There's a whole thing around invisibility and just for other queer people to see themselves within my work or other queer artists work." - Pati Solomona Tyrell. Saint Andrew Matautia Photographer Andrew Matautia presents a series of portraits that reflect Matautia's journey through the tertiary education system, and speaks to moments of strength and courage found through Fa'a Samoa that helped him on his journey.  "Traditional portraiture tells the story or extends the knowledge by placing keys and signifiers within the work to compliment, contrast or act as counterpoints to the person featured in the work. My works are no different. Each cloth, headpiece, flywhisk, feather, body position, fine mat, tapa or necklace offers opportunity for insight and interpretation to and of these visual expressions of this journey." - Matautia.  Each image acts as a response to certain issues and aims that arose during Matautia's project research. "Informed by my cultural roots as a Samoan migrant and Māhina’s tā-vā theory, these images depict and characterize connections through both time and space."  Matautia also uses portraiture as a means to express themes of Pasifika dance, song and traditional ceremonial practises. Passionate about his culture, and aware of the excessive presentation of Pacific culture through a westernised lens, Matautia feels a sense of duty to tell Pasifika stories from a Pasifika lense.  "As I have argued, storytellers and visual communicators with a traditionally holistic approach to the connections made between humans and humans and humans and things, Moana peoples have much to offer the world of design." - Matautia.  "Portraiture is used as a process to explore their individual cultural identity but also as a mechanism to subvert and challenge the ways that we see culture in everyday content, encompassing both island and urban experience."  - Jodi Meadows (curator).  Sauniga was an extremely impressive collection of works by Matautia, Tyrell and Vavae, who have all recently emerged from tertiary environments and are beggining to navigate through the contemprary art world. The generosity shown by each artist is invaluable, as are the stories told through these portraits.  Sauniga exhibited in the ICL Building on Lorne St from the 4th March - 1st April. 

  • Moemoana Schwenke - Fire Knife Dancer

    Moemoana Schwenke - Fire Knife Dancer

    16 year old Moemoana Schwenke picked up an unusual hobby for a girl. While all the young island girls practiced their siva with grace at her parents performing arts school, Moemoana picked up a stick during one of her dads fire dance lessons with the boys and hasn't put it down since, actually she's added fire to it now and training to compete in the international Siva Afi competition held annually in Hawaii.   Suggested Links:  The Palagi Fire Dancer  Fire Dance (Ailao Afi)  



    Multi talentented artist - Singer, Songwriter and Actress - Moana Ete. Wellington born and raised, Moana is of Ngai Tahu, Ngāti Wheke, Rāpaki and Savai’i, Samoa, Falealupo, Lalomalava and nurtures a creative background that spans theatre, film and music. We caught up with her in Wellington where she talks about her early years in music and acting & her influences/inspiration which come from very talented family members.   Suggested Links: APO Remix the orchestra  Pasifika voices provide the music of the Pacific

  • Altered Egos Exhibition

    Altered Egos Exhibition

    The five men whose works feature in the Altered Egos exhibition each have a gift of a superpower. They can each redefine the sense of self through illustration. Just by the simple move of a pen, they can turn sneakers into something fabulous. Altered Egos highlights the artist's ability to change or alter our perceptions of self, simply by using line and shade and texture. The interactive exhibition of illustration and animation features two world-class illustrators from Mangere - Michel Mulipola and Ali Cowley alongside a group of emerging illustration or animation talents from around Tamaki Makaurau. This is their first exhibition as a collective and alongside their work the public can see much more. They have used techology to demonstrate some behind the scenes working methods, such as 3D printing, animation and holograms. Altered Egos celebrates the work of pop-culture creative industries that don't often find their way into a gallery. It underscores the impact of the trend in graphic novems in current literature. More importantly however, it gives visibility to masculine creative identity on a large and inspiring scale.  Altered Egos features the works of some of the Pacific's best - Ali Cowley, Michel Mulipola, Nanai Tolovae Jr, Jimmy Vea and Te Iwihoko Te Rangihirawea and is on at Mangere Arts Centre from now - 14 Jan 2017!   Suggested Links: From the Pacific to Pingyao  Janet Lilo - Status Update 

  • A Woman's Work is a Woman's Worth

    A Woman's Work is a Woman's Worth

    Thirteen years ago G Lazaro and NiaVal shared a very special journey - together in a Mangere community centre with 40 women of Pukapukan descent (a small island atoll in the Northern part of the Cook Islands) they began a process of teaching, sharing and exchanging. These women hold numerous roles as homemakers, mothers, wives, daughters, grandmothers, and are also the backbone of their community. Today these artists have come together to create an exhibition that honours those stories and that journey. NiaVal connects with the organic nature of the taro plantation through glass sculptures, while G Lazaro’s work reflects the warrior spirit which is very much a part of our lives. This is where women cultivate, nurture and harvest the crops not only in the field, but in the home and in society. NiaVal’s work has been inspired by these women and in the process she has collaborated with three male musicians, Masuni Semih Mutlu (Turkey), Jeremie Vahua (Tahiti/ Cook Islands) and Danny Kaitamaki (Rarotonga) to orchestrate their musical talents in arranging and composing three musical pieces that create one narrative and one sound. In addition, she has also invited director and dramaturge Dione Joseph to breathe movement into the work, to create a contemporary dance piece performed at the opening. This she co-choregraphed with dancers Nikki Upoko, Niaval and Tokoaniela Ngaro Tali. This is a unique performance art installation and plantation of work that honours and invites you to join in our conversation. The taro is ready to be harvested, this is the time.   Suggested Links:  Tonight I am the Winter Winds - Robert George  Pacific Collection Access Project - Cook Islands  

  • Behind the Scenes with the Baby Mama's Club

    Behind the Scenes with the Baby Mama's Club

    Coconet TV caught up with the funky fresh and fierce ladies of Baby Mammas Club - the webseries smashing it online. Created and directed by Hanelle Harris the show was spawned from a desire to see more Polynesian women on screen - "just being themselves...sassy and fun, sexy and fierce."  The first ep was preceded by a really clever social experiment called "Finding Johnny" which went viral!  You can read more on our Cocoblog post about it here -   Suggested Links: Baby Mama's Club Ep1 Humans of the Islands - Namila Benson 



    Take a sneak peak on both sides of the tapa runway at the Samoa Arts Councils inaugral Samoa Fashion Week ... The week came to an end on Saturday night with a spectacular runway show at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel. Full access to come on FreshTV.   Check out some more highlights from Samoa Fashion week here



    Visual Artist  Janets 'weapons' are video & installation art.  She combines her interest in experimental music videos & documentaries.  Check out the amazing show she did at the Tjabou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia and around Noumea which combined art with her love of the show 'Americas Next Top Model'. Suggested Links:   Janet Lilo - Status Update  Eff your Beauty Standards 

  • KINGS - The Unknown Hitmaker

    KINGS - The Unknown Hitmaker

    Check out this Creative Native, Kingdon Teitinga Chapple-Wilson, but better known as 'KINGS'. This Samoan/Maori from Aucklands North Shore has had the number one song in New Zealand for the last few weeks. But who is he and where has he come from? Well, this Coco exclusive will answer all of your questions about this humble, unknown hitmaker. Follow KINGS @: SNAPCHAT ----- Kings_Wilson INSTA ----- @kingsmusicnz TWITTER ----- @kingsmusicnz Follow KINGS - https://www.facebook.com/kingsmusicnz/

  • Janet Lilo - Status Update

    Janet Lilo - Status Update

    JANET LILO: STATUS UPDATE Janet Lilo documents the contemporary moment, using experimental processes to turn the familiar into the extraordinary. The sites and sounds, places and publics that infiltrate our everyday actions become her raw material. Similarly, her interactions with people become the basis for community collaborations. This focus on real people and real experiences embodies an important social consciousness, bringing into the gallery people, images and technologies that are often overlooked because of their ubiquity. It is within mainstream behaviours and widely used technologies, however, that Lilo most keenly observes power dynamics between access, agency and representation.  The exhibition Janet Lilo: Status Update is Lilo's first solo survey exhibition. A phrase cribbed from Facebook, ‘Status Update’ refers to her well-known interest in social media as material, a self-aware use of a survey exhibition as validation — and indeed elevation — of an artist’s practice, as well as a description of how Lilo has treated the works in the exhibition. Janet Lilo: Status Update is not a traditional survey. Rather than simply re-showing past works, Lilo has borrowed concepts, processes and technologies from previous works to create three new, large-scale installations that reflect back on and refine the inquiries underpinning her practice. The survey exhibition Janet Lilo: Status Update is accompanied by a publication of the same name. It features text from five writers: Ioana Gordon-Smith, Monique Redmond, Caterina Riva, Ema Tavola and Nina Tonga. With Tessa King acting as editor and Te Uru’s in-house designer Julia Gamble over-seeing Status Update’s look and production, the book is proudly an all-woman affair. Curated by Ioana Gordon-Smith. Generously supported by Creative New Zealand, Tautai Pacific Arts Trust, and Rose and John Dunn. Presented in association with Auckland Festival of Photography. 28 May – 28 August 2016 Opening Saturday 28 May, 4-6pm

  • Resample Guåhan

    Resample Guåhan

    This is a newly released artwork that originated from the 12th Festival of the Pacific Arts Guam 2016 (Guam FestPac 2016) “Resample Guåhan” is a 20 and a half minute long soundscape composition by South Auckland Urban/ Pacific/ Avant Garde Music Producer 'Anonymouz' (Matthew Faiumu Salapu). Created entirely out of audio samples recorded on location from the various natural environments and performance events taking place around Guam.  The soundscape has been constructed using urban Hip Hop music production techniques as well as an EQ filtering method where Anonymouz is able to tune any location sound recording into a tuned, playable keyboard instrument. It is accompanied by visuals shot on location by international award winning film-maker Tuki Laumea, assisted by Junior Nanai. The sampled audio recordings have also been loosely arranged thematically and chronologically to the story of I’iga Pisa, one of the original ten ‘Mau a Pule’ Samoan “matai’s” (chiefs) who was exiled by the German government to Saipan in 1909, before he daringly voyaged solo across to Guam to further educate himself before returning back to Samoa many years later. He was the only surviving member of the original exiled group to witness Samoa’s Independence Day in 1962, a fitting story that coincidentally parallels the current plight of the indigenous Chamorro people of Guåhan/Guam who will soon be voting for their own independence. Resample Guåhan is currently showing at Mangere Arts Centre - Ngā Tohu o Uenuku (23 July-3 September).

  • UNVEILED by Lindah Lepou

    UNVEILED by Lindah Lepou

    For over two decades, “Lindah has been the only fashion designer we know of to have developed a consistent body of work made from a variety of natural fibres using traditional materials in contemporary ways”, as far as Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK) is concerned. Her lineage approach to fashion and art inspires people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and industries the value in drawing inspiration from ones own unique lineage, and encouraging them to celebrate whatever it is that makes them special as an individual artist, company or community. In her piece 'Unveiled' Lindah Lepou tells us how her wedding dress for Te Papa is inspired by her ancestry, especially her great-grandmother, Fa'agase. The dress is modelled by her niece Brooke Evaga, who closely resembles Fa'agase. See more of Linda's work here

  • Pisupo Lua Afe (Corned Beef 2000)

    Pisupo Lua Afe (Corned Beef 2000)

    Check out one of the most iconic pieces of Pacific art on display over at the Te Papa Museum! Artist Michel Tuffery puts a Pacific spin on sculpture with a cow made from corned beef tins - a different take on a favourite food of the Pacific.  From TVNZ's Tales from Te Papa SUGGESTED LINKS: Kava Clubs and Black Fowls Poetua - Tahitian Princess

  • Tautai Navigate 30 Years of Pacific Art

    Tautai Navigate 30 Years of Pacific Art

    Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust has begun its 30 year celebration in 2016 with the opening of an exhibition called ' Tautai Navigate 30 Years of Pacific Arts'. The exhibition brings together almost 50 Pacific artists showing the diversity of contemporary Pacific visual arts today; chronicalling it's long history from it's early days on Karangahape Roda, to it's current Ponsonby site. Check it out at Studio One Toi Tu on Auckland's Ponsonby Road March 4 - March 22 2016. SUGGESTED LINKS Check out the Pacific Artists who make up the SaVage Klub! See fellow Creative Native Maila Urale on her piece about Tatau!

  • Mahana Movie Premiere

    Mahana Movie Premiere

    Check out the cast and crew from Lee Tamahori's latest film Mahana at the NZ Premiere in Auckland last night! Mahana (previously The Patriarch) is an evocative family drama based on Whale Riderauthor Witi Ihimaera's novel, Bulibasha. Set in 1960’s rural New Zealand, two Māori sheep-shearing families, the Mahanas and the Poatas, battle for supremacy in the shearing sheds and in their own hearts. The youngest Mahana, 14-year-old Simeon, is troubled by the rivalry and begins to unravel the truth behind the longstanding feud.

  • SaVage Klub - High Tea

    SaVage Klub - High Tea

    Check out some of the Pacific movers and shakers within the arts world as they activate and create in the spaces around them. The SaVage Klub are a collective of Pacific artists based in Auckland who break out of the norm and offer a different insight on what it means to be a 21st Century savage using performance art.

  • Lovely Larger Ladies Fashion Event

    Lovely Larger Ladies Fashion Event

    We caught up with some "Lovely Larger Ladies" at a Fashion event in central Auckland recently. Our vibrant roving reporter Yolande Ah-Chong got the down low with the ladies at the show, Check it out! Special thanks to: Regina Alai - Regina and Peachtree

  • Pasifika Film Fest 2015

    Pasifika Film Fest 2015

    This week Sydney played host to the Pasifika Film Fest 2015 - 4th November  Great to see the Pacific talents of Directors, Writers, Actors and Producers come to life on the big screen, celebrated amongst peers. We caught up with some of the crowd to get their thoughts on some of the films showcased in the festival, a fantastic celebration of Poly Talent of story telling on a world stage! Still tickets available for the rest of week here! Catch up with the actors of Born To Dance See more films featured in the festival

  • The Events with Beulah Koale

    The Events with Beulah Koale

    The talented Beulah Koale, know for his major role in the film "The Last Saint" was born in Otara, South Auckland and is of Samoan descent, Koale hits the stage for his latest project 'The Events'. In the fallout of one horrific act, Claire, a liberal priest and choir leader, is forced to question the nature of evil and battle with the concept of forgiveness. It’s a journey that will take her to the edge of reason, science, politics and faith. Dramatist David Greig’s award-winning 2013 play pushes theatrical form to tell a daring story that has polarised audiences around the world. Each night, a different choir from the Auckland region performs, providing an evocative musical score spanning traditional choral hymns to Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar. These choirs discover THE EVENTS at the same time as you, the audience, drawing into focus the responsibility and power of community in the face of unspeakable tragedy. Sublime, masterful and necessary, this is an experience that can only happen in the theatre. Season ends Sept 26th, click here to check it out