Pacific people living in New Zealand carry a higher burden of mental disorder than the general population of New Zealand. This project explored through creative practice, the lived experience of depression from a Pacific woman’s perspective.
Manulua seeks to communicate the nature of depression through spatio-temporal, narrative illustration. It explores the use of culturally significant symbols within ngatu making and tatau as metaphors for experiences of depression. The short film speaks without words but uses sound, image and animation to communicate meaning. It is positioned in relation to Siliga David Setoga’s (2010) concept of the Pacific Island home in New Zealand as a decolonized zone and considers how this mind-set impacts on ideas of success for Pacific people in society. It explores the sense of confusion that young Pacific Islanders face “feeling neither here nor there and always wondering, questioning and searching for a place of belonging.”
“The sharp increase in mental illness and suicide
may be attributed to an asymmetrically, faster pace of social change.
Such a highly accelerated change involves an abrupt shift
in the arrangement of time and space.”
(Mahina, 2002, p. 306).